August 01, 2009

Yellowstone: Supervolcano

One of the more fascinating geologic areas on earth is Yellowstone, featured in this month's National Geographic. One of the reasons that Yellowstone is such an interesting area filled with hot pools and geysers is because the land sits on top of a huge volcanic reservoir -- a supervolcano.

Eruptions of supervolcanoes are very rare - so rare that humans have never experienced an eruption of a supervolcano. Yet someday what sits beneath Yellowstone most likely will erupt. If we humans are around when it erupts, what we would see would be truly terrifying.

Volcanoes form mountains; supervolcanoes erase them. Volcanoes kill plants and animals for miles around; supervolcanoes threaten whole species with extinction by changing the climate across the entire planet.

What lies below Yellowstone is not extinct. Indeed, it is a sleeping giant that is biding its time until it erupts once more.

This is a great summer article by Joel Achenbach for those of us who are awed by the tremendous power and incredible mystery of this home which we call planet Earth.

Posted by Mary at August 1, 2009 01:02 AM | Science | Technorati links |
Comments

Yes -- if you will notice [ www.usgs.com ] the whole west coast from Baja to the Aleutians has been twitching. In a circle around Idaho, the twitch continues, Idaho staying still in large part because it is shield material. I'm always on the lookout for Yellowstone activity. The Caldera has been a subject of interest for awhile now. It sure would stop warming in one great catastrophic incident, and likely give us a couple of year-round winters, if not glaciers..

Posted by: Scorpio at August 1, 2009 11:06 AM

The Caldera has been a subject of interest for awhile now. It sure would stop warming in one great catastrophic incident, and likely give us a couple of year-round winters, if not glaciers..

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Posted by: diarrhea treatment at August 3, 2009 06:43 AM

Yellowstone is so awesome and beautiful. Its like like a part of nature still not exploited by us humans.

Posted by: Ryan at August 4, 2009 07:19 PM

Those volcanic features sure are gorgeous though. I would encourage everyone to go see for yourself. It's truly one of our nation's greatest natural wonders.

Posted by: Flo at August 6, 2009 01:20 PM