At the present, our civilization will have difficulty handling such an event, yet we are far less vulnerable than even a century ago. We do have the real capacity to move people, even if that meant evacuating North America.
However, it is certain that actual surface evacuation is a plausible future contingency during the next million years and the easiest response is to develop underground refugia for the population. We will likely do that anyway to widen our population base anyway. In the long term the problem is easily solved by human progress.
It remains a real and legitimate threat that is much greater that a repeat of the Yucatan extinction event and almost as destructive..
Tuesday, May 7, 2013
Geologists believe Yellowstone sits over a hotspot, a plume of superheated rock rising from the Earth's mantle. As North America slowly drifted over the hotspot, the Yellowstone plume punched through the continent's crust, leaving a bread-crumb-like trail of calderas created by massive volcanic eruptions along Idaho's Snake River Plain, leading straight to Yellowstone.
It’s not a matter of if, but when Yellowstone erupts and many scientists believe we are due.
“That’s what is making us very nervous because the cycle time corresponds to the present day era,” said Dr. Michio Kaku, Theoretical Physics. “Every single burp, murmur of this gigantic potential super-volcano, including the rise of sea level has to be watched very carefully.”
Earthquakes are commonplace in Yellowstone. In fact they’ve had at least two earthquakes in the last week. Geologists use these quakes to collect data and they now believe there is a 37 mile long, 18 mile wide tube of magna that runs 3 to 7 miles deep, sitting beneath the park. It’s estimated that when this blows, it will be a thousand times bigger than 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens.
“When it blows, it could destroy the United States as we know it,” said Dr. Kaku.
So what can you do? All of Idaho and most of its surrounding states are within the perimeter of massive destruction. Dr. Kaku says it’s important to watch for the warning signs.
“All you can do is run,” continued Kaku. “You don’t get much warning. What happens is the ground starts to rise and more earthquakes take place. More ash and volcanic gases start to be unleashed. That’s about the only warning we get because we do not have a good way to predict volcanic eruptions.”Geologists say the last major eruption occurred 640,000 years ago. - KPVI.
Update time = Tue May 7 9:00:02 MDT 2013
Magnitude 2.9 2013/05/07 07:22:33 44.583N 110.976W 9.5 14 km ( 8 mi) SE of West Yellowstone, MT
Here are the 30 most recent earthquakes and all M>3 earthquakes on this map...
- University of Utah Seismograph Stations.
"We are getting a much better understanding of the volcanic system of Yellowstone," said Jamie Farrell, a seismology graduate student at the University of Utah. "The magma reservoir is at least 50 percent larger than previously imaged."
Knowing the volume of molten magma beneath Yellowstone is important for estimating the size of future eruptions, Farrell told OurAmazingPlanet.
|Surface features such as geysers and hot springs are direct results of the region's underlying volcanism.|
CREDIT: National Park Service
The magma chamber seen in the new study fed these smaller eruptions and is the source of the park's amazing hydrothermal springs and geysers. It also creates the surface uplift seen in the park, said Bob Smith, a seismologist at the University of Utah and author of a related study presented at the meeting.
|The famous Old Faithful Geyser is an example of the geothermal activity generated by the Yellowstone supervolcano (Source: ziggymaj/iStockphoto)|
"This crustal magma body is a little dimple that creates the uplift," Smith said. "It's like putting your finger under a rubber membrane and pushing it up and the sides expand."
|A hot spring at Yellowstone National Park. The super volcano that lurks below Yellowstone has blown its top three times in the past 2 million years. Jason Maehl.|
A clearer picture of Yellowstone's shallow magma chamber emerged from earthquakes, whose waves change speed when they travel through molten or solid rock. Farrell analyzed nearby earthquakes to build a picture of the magma chamber.
The underground magma resembles a mutant banana, with a knobby, bulbous end poking up toward the northeast corner of Yellowstone National Park, and the rest of the tubular fruit angling shallowly southwest. It's a single connected chamber, about 37 miles (60 kilometers) long, 18 miles (30 km) wide, and 3 to 7 miles (5 to 12 km) deep.
|Scientists have updated this image of Yellowstone volcano's underground magma chamber. Instead of two big yellow blobs, they have a clearer picture that looks like a knobby banana.|
CREDIT: Jamie Farrell, University of Utah
Previously, researchers had thought the magma beneath Yellowstone was in separate blobs, not a continuous pocket.
The shallowest magma, in the northeast, also matches up with the park's most intense hydrothermal activity, Farrell said. The new study is the best view yet of this zone, which lies outside the youngest caldera rim. Additional molten rock, not imaged in this study, also exists deeper beneath Yellowstone, scientists think. -Yahoo.