Supervolcano 2.5

Supervolcano 2.5…  We’ve written about the supervolcano hiding under Yellowstone park…really the whole region several times but now a team of scientists from the University has discovered that the magma chamber under Yellowstone is 2.5x bigger than previous estimates.

They are describing the next Yellowstone eruption as a nation killer…not just a northwest central region killer.  Yellowstone erupts every 600,000 to 700,000 years and last erupted about 640,000 years ago…read more from the New York Post at Beneath Yellowstone, a volcano that could wipe out U.S.

Yellowstone Supervolcano Video

CNN recently ran a great video article on the  Yellowstone Supervolcano.  Watch the (under 7 minute) article if you have time but here are the highlights:

  • The Yellowstone area often experiences hundreds of earthquakes per day and thousands per year
  • The Yellowstone Caldera (crater) covers an area of 3,000 square kilometers.  It’s so large that it doesn’t appear at all similar to the volcanic craters we keep in our mind’s eye
  • The most recent Yellowstone eruption expelled an estimated 650 cubic Kilometers of molten material.  That eruption was estimated to be 10,000 times more damaging than the 1980 Mount St. Helens eruption that I remember that eruption dropping ash on our neighborhood half a continent away.  Incidentally, that Mount St. Helens eruption also leveled everything within a 4,000 square kilometer area. (more…)

TEOTWAWKI Event Being Live Tweeted

Bad news for the population of Pompeii, Herculaneum, and the much of the peninsula south of Rome, Mount Vesuvius just blew it’s top and the volcano is causing thousands of deaths.  Pliney the Elder is posting updates ‘live’ (after 1,933 years) on Twitter.  It’s The End Of The World As We Know It (TEOTWAWKI)…more accurately it was The End Of The World As They Knew It (TEOTWATKI).

All kidding aside, the Denver Museum of Nature and Science is staging this Twitter event based on the firsthand account of Pliney the Elder so the information is a contemporaneous, eye-witness account.  What a neat way to bring a historical account of a TEOTWAWKI event to life for a digital generation

Check it out @elder pliny.

Destroyed by the eruption of Vesuvius nearly 2,000 years ago, the Roman town of Pompeii was buried deep beneath ash and preserved following the catastrophe on Aug. 24 in the year AD 79. The city remained untouched for nearly 1,700 years, preserved as if in a time capsule.

Now, 1,933 years later, the Denver Museum of Nature and Science is bringing the events back to life.

The museum began Tweeting a first-hand account of the events at Pompeii as seen by Pliny the Elder, the famous Roman historian, nationalist, and commander of the Roman fleet at Misenium.

via Pliny the Elder is live-tweeting the fall of Pompeii | Fox News.

Volcanos, Nature’s Fury and the Journey to Self Reliance

Mother Nature has been expressing her fury in a number of ways in recent months especially in and around the “Ring of Fire.”  The Ring of Fire is a particularly active region of tectonic activity running around the Pacific basin.  In addition to the earthquakes and the tsunamis that the earthquakes create there have been a number of volcanic eruptions in recent months including these two reports that caught my eye:

A volcano quiet for more than a century erupted in a New Zealand national park, spreading thick ash for several miles and causing some residents to evacuate their homes. Some domestic flights were canceled Tuesday.

Mount Tongariro spewed ash and rocks for about 30 minutes late Monday night after a few weeks of increased seismic activity. It didn’t cause any injuries or damage in the sparsely populated central North Island region. Tongariro National Park has three active volcanos…

via Volcano erupts with ash cloud in New Zealand park | Fox News.

Volcanic rock found floating in South Pacific near New Zealand

The Royal New Zealand Air Force have spotted a raft of floating volcanic rock in the South Pacific, covering 10,000 sq miles of ocean north of New Zealand. The rock, known as pumice, is created when lava from an underwater volcano comes in contact with seawater. New Zealand researchers say the source of the pumice is a seamount known as Monowai

via Volcanic rock found floating in South Pacific near New Zealand – video | World news |

Can you imagine something powerful enough to emit enough debris to create a 10,000 square mile raft of stones up to two feet thick…

Maybe you’re not concerned about the threat of Volcanic eruption because there isn’t a volcano within 500 miles of your home…but the threat of volcanic activity can affect you anywhere in the world.  Read on to find out why severe Volcanic activity is one of the most important events you should be preparing for… (more…)

Supervolcano: Eruption by Harry Turtledove

I finally got around to reading Supervolcano by Harry Turtledove last week.  The Yellowstone supervolcano (which is apparently overdue for an eruption) is one of the single biggest perils facing the U.S. and the world.  I thought a work of fiction written by a historian (PHD in Byzantine history) would be an interesting read about how individuals and society deal with such a disaster…I was wrong.

Here is what the San Diego Union-Tribune had to say about Supervolcano:

A supervolcanic eruption in Yellowstone Park sends lava and mud flowing toward populated areas, and clouds of ash drifting across the country. The fallout destroys crops and livestock, clogs machinery, and makes cities uninhabitable. Those who survive find themselves caught in an apocalyptic catastrophe in which humanity has no choice but to rise from the ashes and recreate the world…

via Supervolcano: Eruption – Books by Harry Turtledove – Penguin Group (USA).

My take was a little different:

The Good:

  • Interesting and likeable characters
  • Good character development
  • Loved the characters and their interactions
  • One of the characters followed was a performer in a band…LOVED the band name…it was called ‘Squirt Frog & the Evolving Tadpoles’
  • Good descriptions of the difficulties such an event would put on transportation and especially how the grit would effect engines (didn’t seem to effect air conditioning systems for some reason though).  I still remember the grit in my neighborhood from the 1980 Mount St. Helens eruption and I lived half a continent away at the time.

The Bad:

  • The supervolcano event described in the book was very minor compared to most projections based on previous eruptions of the Yellowstone supervolcano.
  • Very little mention of the difficulty such an eruption would put on the economy

The Ugly:

  • Virtually no preparedness actions described in the lead up to the eruption even though some of the characters knew it was coming.
  • I really wanted to see a historian’s view on how individuals and society would adjust to the resulting economic upheaval and damage to infrastructure such an event would create.  Turtledove did throw in some difficulties like soda companies having to go back to using sugar because high fructose corn syrup was no longer available (no crops from the heartland)…but his description was a far cry from the mass hunger and starvation such an event would likely create.

In summary, I did enjoy the book but would have enjoyed it more if I wasn’t looking for the TEOTWAWKI tie in.  If Turtledove had just written about the characters and left out the would have been a much better book.

Amazon Link:  Supervolcano: Eruption

Audible Link:

Supervolcano: Eruption Supervolcano: EruptionA supervolcanic eruption in Yellowstone Park sends lava and mud flowing toward populated areas, and clouds of ash drifting across the country…

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