We’ve Worried About The “Big One,” But What About The Other “Super Big One?”

Yellowstone Hot Spring | Image by diying.com

It’s not like we don’t have enough things to worry about like the subduction earthquake that’s been called “The Big One.” We have dormant volcanoes close enough that they could cause disasters, but recently the attention of the scientists has been turned to the Western U.S. where there is a giant caldera which could cause the kid of devastation over a large part of the country the likes of which has never before been seen by humans.

Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone National Park | Photo by allatra-science.org

Yellowstone Park has long been a favorite tourist spot for Americans and people from all over the world. It also has become the center of attention of the scientific community. Scientists have been studying the aftermath of previous volcanic eruptions there. What does that have to do with the present? The answer is quite simple. A swarm of earthquakes has been observed in the park which in itself is not that uncommon, but is worthy of attention.

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) published a Yellowstone Volcano Observation Information statement that follows. According to an update from the University of Utah Seismograph Stations (UUSS) “The swarm began on June 12, 2017 and as of 13:30 MDT on June 19, 2017 is composed of 464 events with the largest magnitude of ML 4.4 (MW 4.4). The swarm consists of one earthquake in the magnitude 4 range, 5 earthquakes in the magnitude 3 range, 57 earthquakes in the magnitude 2 range, 238 earthquakes in the magnitude 1 range, 157 earthquakes in the magnitude 0 range, and six earthquakes with magnitudes of less than zero.”

They go on to say “Earthquake swarms are common in Yellowstone and, on average, comprise about 50% of the total seismicity in the Yellowstone region.” This swarm contains the highest number of earthquakes in a single week over the past five years, but turns out to be less than other swarms that occurred in 2002, 2004, 2008, and 2010.

Yellowstone Caldera Map
Yellowstone Caldera Map Showing Areas of 3 Eruptions | Image by yellowstonepark.com

There have been three eruptions at the Yellowstone site.The first one erupted 2.1 million years ago, according to the USGS. The second one erupted 1.3 million years ago, and third eruption ws 640,000 years ago. According to My Yellowstone. com those three eruptions were “6,000, 700, and 2,500 times larger respectively than the May 18,1980 eruption of Mt. St. Helens.” The experts say that means we could be overdue for another one and it will be very powerful.

Yellowstone Caldera
Yellowstone Caldera | Image by Youtube

The information that has become problematic is that scientists have found a much larger magma chamber below than they had expected. The chamber stretches 465 miles form Wyoming into Montana. It seams most of it is solid,but molten magma is moving into the chamber at a rate of 2 inches per year and the fear is that the solid portion may start melting.

Solid Magma
Solid Magma In Chamber | Image by royalsocietypublishing.com

To show you how powerful this caldera is, many years ago it actually swallowed fifty miles of a mountain range which hasn’t been seen since. The caldera is located at 44 degrees 25 minutes and 48 seconds N latitude and 110 degrees, 40 minutes, and 12 seconds W longitude with a summit elevation of 9,203 ft. (2,805 meters).

View Of Caldera
View Of Yellowstone Caldera |
photo by newselea.com

I can’t guarantee the veracity of the following information, but according to an article on London’s Daily Mail.com “The timebomb under Yellowstone: Experts warn of 90,000 immediate deaths and a nuclear winter” across the U.S.if super volcano erupts.” They go on to say ” It could release 1 ft. layer of molten ash 1,000 miles from the National Park, It would be 1,000 times more powerful than the 1980 Mt. St. Helens eruption, a haze would drape over the United States, causing temperatures to drop, Experts say there is a 1 in 700,000 annual chance of an eruption.”

The sun
The Sun | Image by keywordteam.net

That sounds like a dire prediction, but if you take into account the fact that scientists also say that our sun will eventually go supernova which could destroy all life on earth it’s just a bit too much to process. It has been proven that all of us will die eventually, so it seems a bit extreme too worry about the possibility of cataclysmic events in the future killing us all when we our day-to-day existence is threatened by, disease, war, and many other possible natural disasters.

I’d rather take the advice of Bobby McFerrin’s song titled “Don’t Worry, Be Happy.” I think life would be much easier if we concentrate on what we can control rather than the uncontrollable possibilities of the future. That’s just my opinion.

Let me know what you would like me to talk about or explain. You can comment below or email me at: [email protected].

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