Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming is one of the most beautiful -- and most visited -- places on earth. Its stunning natural beauty however, also contains one of the most dangerous and deadly parts of our planet: A SUPER-VOLCANO.
There are lots of volcanoes on earth but only fourteen "super" volcanoes. They are volcanoes so large, that an eruption of any single one of them, can actually wipe out all life with 500 miles in minutes and alter the climate on the ENTIRE planet for DECADES. 13 of those super volcanoes are on the floor of an ocean, safely coverd by thousands of feet of water. Yellowstone is the only one on land.
Since earthquakes may sometimes be a "signal" of a pending eruption, Yellowstone is intensely monitored. There are 32 Seismographs in and around the volcano. On December 3, some of those seismographs began picking up "something" happening deep within the Yellowstone super volcano.
That "something" began spreading on Dec. 4 and 5. Now, as of Dec. 6, I'm not the only one who is noticing this. What is taking place is not normal or typical. I have a feeling it is also not good.
I want to provide you with a basic understanding of the layout and the enormity of the situation.
According to the US Geological Survey, these are the several types of volcanoes which exist in the world:
Yellowstone is the type listed at the bottom: a "Caldera."
How a volcano goes from Strato- to Caldera is an intense and violent process of eruptions, which blow up the sides of the mountain as lava erupts; then those sides of the mountain collapse into the chamber underground from where the eruption came. Here's a look at the process, using a former strato-volcano in Oregon as the example:
In layman's terms, it starts as a mountain with a crater (mouth) at the top, and ends being a gigantic hole in the ground! The size of the hole depends on the size of the volcano and the intensity of its eruption.
What we have right now at Yellowstone is a Caldera; a giant hole in the ground. When I say it's a "giant" hole, I mean it.
The major features of the caldera measure about 34 by 45 miles (55 by 72 km). That, is a really big hole! Here's a map to give you perspective:
The yellow colored area represents 34 by 45 mile Caldera; the "mouth" of the super volcano. Think about those numbers for just a second and consider that the entire U.S. state of Rhode Island is only 37 miles (east-west) by 48 miles (north-south). So this hole in the ground is 97% as big as the ENTIRE state of Rhode Island!!!
If it boggles your mind that a volcano can be that big, you're not alone. It truly is mind-boggling in size.
The caldera formed during the last of three super-eruptions over the past 2.1 million years:
When a volcano erupts, it sends lava, ash, dirt, pulverized rock and a whole slew of noxious gases. Geologists took samples of the ground around the Yellowstone Caldera, then traced how far those exact same soil/rock/gas debris could be found elsewhere in the US from the eruptions. If your mind was boggled by the size of the volcano, wait until you see how far this thing ejected ash, rock and lava. Here are maps showing the Huckkleberry Ridge, Mesa Falls and Lava Creek eruption results where ash, rock and gases flew:
Try to wrap your head around what you've just seen. Ash, rock and gases from the three prior eruptions covered almost HALF of the entire United States of America!
If something like this were to take place again, it would wipe out our country. The land area involved is where most of our food is grown and where most of our cattle is raised. It would literally wipe out our food supply, never mind several MILLION people, their homes, businesses and anything else in the area.
The red colored area is the 500-mile-wide "Kill Zone." As its name indicates, everything in this area, all the people, animals, insects, crops, trees . . . . EVERYTHING here would be dead in minutes.
The brown colored area is the "Hot Ash" Zone. Hot ash from the eruption would rain-down on those areas for the next few days. And "hot" ash means exactly that . . . ash that is so hot it would literally set everything in these areas on fire! Homes, business, cars, trucks, buses, trees . . . . it would all burn. People would be able to evacuate and save themselves, but the cattle and crops are not going to make it.
The raining ash zone is where volcanic ash of varying thickness will also rain down. And this is a major problem too, because volcanic "ash" is not like the ash from a cigarette or burnt paper. Volcanic "ash" is actually pulverized rock. It is heavy.
As the ash drifts back down to earth from the eruption, it will begin to accumulate on rooftops of structures. But this isn't snow. It's HEAVY. and as an inch or more accumulates on the average home, the roof will collapse from the weight of the volcanic ash.
In short, every area you see above would suffer unimaginable destruction. Even if the people who live in the Hot Ash and Raining Ash zones were able to evacuate, WHERE WOULD WE PUT THEM? How do you relocate literally MILLIONS of people into the areas remaining??
How do you feed them? How do you clothe them? How do you shelter them? How do you process their waste?
The implications of a Yellowstone super-eruption are utterly terrifying when you take a few moments to grasp the enormity of the possible outcome.
December 3 started out like pretty much every other day at Yellowstone. Tiny blue lines on the 32 seismographs indicating the smallest of vibrations as always happen there. Then, something changed. The red colored lines (indicating an abnormal strength of vibration, i.e. earthquake) began.
The image below is the December 3 seismograph from the Mammoth Vault seismograph at the northern tip of Yellowstone National Park. Everything is fine until about 3:45 PM MOUNTAIN Standard Time (MST) which is two hours behind East Coast time . . .
The ongoing red lines are NOT typical.
A few minutes later, the seismograph at Lake Butte, about 40 miles south-southeast from the one at Mammoth Vault, starting showing similar red lines as can be seen below:
The next day, December 4, the lines on both these seismographs continued -- ALL DAY -- and sudden "spikes" started appearing on several of the other seismographs at Yellowstone as well.
Here is is an image of all seismos from Dec. 4 with arrows pointing to the other seismographs starting to show "spikes:"
And it continued to get worse on Dec. 5 as seen from this image of all seismos:
As you can plainly see, "something" is going on that is very out-of-the-ordinary at the Yellowstone super-volcano. To view the LIVE readings as of right now, click HERE
I am not a trained Geologist or Volcanologist, so I won't draw any conclusions about what is taking place. What I will say is that these readings seem to tell us that we in the general public had better keep an eye on this for awhile to see where it goes. Maybe it will go away. Maybe it won't.
Since the implications of a Yellowstone eruption are so mind-boggingly terrible, it might be a good idea to make certain that, if you live in the HOT ASH or RAINING ASH areas, that you have an evacuation plan and spare food/water on-hand, just in case. Know WHERE to go and more importantly, WHERE NOT TO GO! Use the ash map above as your guide of where NOT to go!
For those in the potential unaffected areas, you'd better have FOOD stored-up. Because if, God forbid, this thing erupts, the food supply will be gone in hours.
Lastly, for EVERYONE, it is a good idea to have FILTER MASKS for you and each member of your family. As mentioned earlier, volcanic "ash" is actually pulverized rock. If you INHALE IT, when it hits the moisture in your lungs, it becomes . . . . mud. Your body cannot process this. It immediately impairs your breathing and, after a few good whifs of it, you actually DROWN on mud.
There is no cure and no treatment for this. Once you get this crap in your lungs, you're done.
Here are sources from AMAZON who sell N-100 filter masks. They cost only about $8 each. Have one for you and each of your family at home, at work and in each of your cars. There's no telling when an eruption might come -- or where you will be when it happens. Having these filter masks handy might keep you alive long enough to evacuate to safety.
ABOUT THE MASKS ABOVE: It is important that you have one WITH YOU or within immediate reach at all times. For instance, having masks at home while you're at work is useless if an eruption takes place while you're at work. You need to have one in your desk or locker at work. You should also have one in your car in case an eruption takes place while you're traveling. I have one for EACH of my family members both at home and in my family car, so if we're all together on an outing, and something takes place, we all have masks in the car. Your finances will dictate how many masks you get, but these are things to really think about as you prep.</p>
If an eruption takes place you want to protect your eyes. Remember, volcanic ash is pulverized rock. Getting that in your eyes will scrath the lenses and immediately irritate you, perhaps to the point you cannot see. If you can't see, you can't drive to escape. So having waterproof goggles is essential for protection.
As an eruption begins, all the water in the region is going to end up with ash in it. You can't drink it. So having some amount of fresh water will tie-you-over until you reach safety. Here are some small Emergency Water Storage options.
Once your supply of stored water runs out, you're going to need more water, but NONE may be available via Municipal Water Supplies or stores. At that point, you will have to get water from nearby Lakes, Streams or Rivers, (all of which are open to volcanic ash) and that absolutely requires FILTERING before being consumed. Here are some Gravity-fed water filters you can resort to when your emergency supplies run out:
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