Dear Readers: Unless the Egyptians opt to enthrone a new, real pharaoh, I will be “off the grid” for a bit. The MUT family is heading to Yellowstone for its summer vacation.
As Horemheb and I are both geologists, and the Young Prince adores science, we are really excited about the fact the region is home to a SUPERVOLCANO!
| Yellowstone is an active volcano. Surface features such as geysers and hot springs are direct results of the region’s underlying volcanism.
CREDIT: National Park Service
SALT LAKE CITY — Yellowstone’s underground volcanic plumbing is bigger and better connected than scientists thought, researchers reported here today (April 17) at the Seismological Society of America’s annual meeting.
“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.
Geologists believe Yellowstone sits over a hotspot, a plume of superheated rock rising from 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. The last caldera eruption was 640,000 years ago. Smaller eruptions occurred in between and after the big blasts, most recently about 70,000 years ago. [Infographic: Geology of Yellowstone]
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.
And if that doesn’t sound awesomely awesome, a CAPITALIST HERO notes that more bison kill people than bears there!
Meek and mellow Yellowstone National Park bison most definitely are not. A woman learned that lesson painfully Wednesday when butted into the air by a bison that apparently didn’t like the phone call she was making.
The 50-year-old woman, a visitor from Spain, and her husband were using a pay phone in the Canyon lodging area with their backs to the road. Normally that’s not an issue, but in Yellowstone, where bison and other wildlife roam at will, these visitors were about to learn you have to be on guard all the time in the park.
According to witnesses, two bull bison walking down the road passed within 20 feet of the couple. One of the bison left the road, walked up behind the woman and butted her into the air. The couple, who were facing away from the road, did not see the bison.
Park officials say the unidentified woman was transported to the Canyon Lodge front desk by visitors, and taken by ambulance to the Lake Clinic where she was released with only minor injuries.
A search of “Yellowstone Buffalo Attacks” reveals a nice long list. Here is a prime example of why it happens — an adult was egging on a group of kids to get close to the fairly large animal. It did not end well
Here’s to hoping things don’t get too crazy while I am gone.