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09/06/2003 Archived Entry: "More on the dangerous beauties of Yellowstone."

MORE ON THE DANGEROUS BEAUTIES OF YELLOWSTONE. E.G. sent the this admittedly alarmist article about "possible pre-eruptive activity" in Yellowstone. You don't have to look far around the site to see that these folks shouldn't be your primary source of Yellowstone info!

Yet it's true that the Norris Basin area has been closed since July due to heightened thermal activity. True that there was a 4.4 earthquake in the park on August 21 (though not true that such a quake is particularly unusual there). True that a dome is swelling under placid, lovely Yellowstone lake. You'll find a better-balanced, perhaps even overly reassuing, take on this activity at the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory. Scientific American even reported two years ago that volcanic activity was actually waning in Yellowstone -- though an eruption sometime in the next 100,000 years is possible.

What's fascinating about the alarmist article, though, is that it actually underestimates the true danger of a major Yellowstone eruption. Get yourself some face masks and a pair of boots for wading through volcanic ash, as they say? Sure. Just in case. They neglect to mention you might have to eat those boots during the second or third year of crop failures caused by volcanic winter.

Something's happening in the park. But it could be anything from the geological equivalent of a gassy stomach to the buildup to a minor thermal eruption to ... anything. We just don't know. Yellowstone will "do its thing" in geologic time, not human time, and that might be a million years from now. It might also be next week. But I still voted for neighboring Montana as the #1 state of the free. And I put down poor, geologically doomed Wyoming as #3.

Posted by Claire @ 09:32 AM CST

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