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Earth Science

Yellowstone Supervolcano Eruptions Even Bigger Than Originally Thought (csmonitor.com) 104

schwit1 writes: A recent study published in the Geological Society of America Bulletin identifies an area of great volcanic activity along the Snake River Plain between Oregon and Yellowstone. While scientists have long known that the supervolcano now under Yellowstone left a trail of mega-eruptions across the Pacific Northwest, an international research team has found evidence of only 12 distinct eruptions, contradicting earlier theories that the eruptions were more numerous and less extreme. "The size and magnitude of this newly defined eruption is as large, if not larger, than better known eruptions at Yellowstone," said the study's lead author, Dr. Thomas Knott, in a University of Leicester press release, "and it is just the first in an emerging record of newly discovered super-eruptions during a period of intense magmatic activity between 8 and 12 million years ago."
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Yellowstone Supervolcano Eruptions Even Bigger Than Originally Thought

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 27, 2016 @12:00AM (#51785307)

    If Yellowstone blows, everything else facing mankind is bullshit in comparison.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      They've been telling us this for so long now that even the conspiracy theorists have latched on to it. The bottom line is nothing sells like fear. Personally I think the threat is overblown and overstated.

      • The threat is real, it will blow again. The whole "we're overdue" stuff is BS though, that's not how geology works.
        • The threat is real, it will blow again. The whole "we're overdue" stuff is BS though, that's not how geology works.

          OK, "the probability of an eruption is steadily rising as time goes by". That says the same thing in "scientific" language.

          • That's true, but the fact that the uncertainty in the measurement is much larger than its rate of change means that it isn't a very useful statement.

          • Rather like the probably of your death rises as you go through life - never mind there's always a 100% probability of death.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Just the thought experiment of Yellowstone blowing puts humankind in perspective.

    • Maybe, but that'd be a reliable way to get rid of ISIS.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      When the Yellowstone Supervolcano erupts next it could represent a "Great Filter" event for the (modern) human race - especially if we are still earth bound.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Filter

    • Not if, but when.

    • by doccus ( 2020662 )

      But do I have to worry today? No? OK then.. back to what I was doing... :-)

    • ISIS > ICE IS > ICE.

      With this breakthrough epiphany, we can further slow the eruption of Yellowstone by cooling its inner temperature down. How? Simple! Regular "Donations" of ISIS members, deposited through the top like a piggy bank.
  • by Black Parrot ( 19622 ) on Sunday March 27, 2016 @12:54AM (#51785451)

    "The size and magnitude of this newly defined eruption is as large, if not larger, than better known eruptions at Yellowstone," said the study's lead author, Dr. Thomas Knott, in a University of Leicester press release, "and it is just the first in an emerging record of newly discovered super-eruptions during a period of intense magmatic activity between 8 and 12 million years ago."

    So he's a magmatician?

  • by sims 2 ( 994794 )

    At the bottom of the page it says;

    "You have a message from the operator."

    Where can I check my messages?

    • Just dial Zero. Mabel will help you. Oh, while you're on the line with her can you let her know Sookie busted out of the pen again? Third time this week.

  • >> the study's lead author, Dr. Thomas Knott, in a University of Leicester

    Leicester leads the Premier League and suddenly their Uni profs are claiming 'super eruptions'.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Oh dear, this article is filled with mostly trolls. Can't we please mod these all to -1 (editors, I'm looking at you) and allow the adults to have a discussion?

    The Yellowstone area is fairly unique compared with its surroundings. It receives much harsher weather in the winter and far more snow, despite other areas being at similar altitude. The mountains generally prevent a lot of Pacific moisture from reaching Wyoming and Colorado. Much of the moisture is removed as clouds and precipitation as moist air as

    • by bytesex ( 112972 )

      Is it not possible to 'ease' Yellowstone a little bit, by harvesting its heat? It would be a double whammy: free energy and less risk of an eruption. (Remember - I said 'ease', not 'neutralize').

      • by khallow ( 566160 )

        Is it not possible to 'ease' Yellowstone a little bit, by harvesting its heat? It would be a double whammy: free energy and less risk of an eruption. (Remember - I said 'ease', not 'neutralize').

        Sure, but it'd be an epic engineering feat. I recall estimating that the gravitational potential energy from the hotspot could be dissipated in about a century by a terawatt of geothermal power dissipation (there's still the thermal energy as well). That probably would require evaporating every scrap of water that currently flows out of the Yellowstone area. Toss in additional rainfall from the huge increase in moisture content and I think you could make it happen.

      • We can build a wall around Yellowstone and make the University of Leicester pay for it.

  • "All of our numbers were way off. With the new information, we have revised the likelihood of the next eruption occurring tomorrow, and..."
  • "Yesterday's news... today!"

    Can we leave the random tidbits to a site like Reddit, that actually posts this stuff in a timely manner? Volcanoes aren't really Slashies material to begin with. Maybe we could run with an Atari 400 article instead. It's no less grossly outdated but, it might actually be fun.

    • Nerds also includes those with interests in geology and other sciences. I'm a computer programmer, but I'm not here just for the computer news. There are better places for "just tech news."

  • Too bad we can't tap that energy. We could get massive power and cool down the problem magma zit at the same time.

    • Sounds like a nice idea.

      But unless you've got a large supply of unobtanium drill pipe, you won't be able to get within a kilometre of the magma itself. Highest temperature manageable with modern Real World (TM) drill pipe is around 300degC, and for magma you're up in the 550+degC (depending on chemistry) So you'd cool the rocks around the magma, making it more brittle and prone to fracture.

      I'd get your liability insurance sourced from somewhere the far side of Sirius. I doubt the terrestrial insurance mar

  • It is amazing it has moved so much and yet we survived in the past 6,000 years!

    I wonder if helped caused Noah's flood with all the moisture coming out and turned several people into sulfur salts at the dead sea as described by the book of genesis!

    • by Z00L00K ( 682162 )

      Considering that the last eruption was a long time ago - long before Homo Sapiens had appeared it's unlikely that it's the source of such stories. There have been other major events later that are more likely to have ended up in the legends. Like a break-through between the Mediterranean and Black Sea causing a flooding of the plains that are now under the surface of the Black Sea.

      • Actually, some archaeologists suggest that many of the human Great Flood myths may have come from a memory of 12,000 years ago, when the last great Ice Age ended and the melting massive glaciers inundated vast swaths of land often at very high speed, as evidenced by the sudden emptying of the prehistoric Lake Bonneville about that time as a possible ice dam melted, sending water down what is now the Snake River Canyon.

        But getting back on topic, there is a likely possibility that modern humans may have exper

  • Even bigger than originally thought? Voting will now commence in the House on renaming it "The Yellowstone Super-supervolcano."

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