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Fear Mongering in Amateur Science.

Discussion in 'Science and Technology' started by Ellen Brown, Apr 19, 2019.

  1. Ellen Brown

    Ellen Brown Well-Known Member
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    Lately Amateur Scientists have been going off about the explosion of the Yellowstone Caldera. I'd like to advance the premise that since that area does not sit on major continental rift zones, or known faults like the San Andreas, or other Ring of Fire Geological activity zones, I think that it is unlikely that Yellowstone is going to do anything but what it now does every day.
     
  2. Valjean

    Valjean Veteran Member
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    But it does sit on top of a supervolcano, or, rather, the caldera left by the last eruption. There's a large, magma filled hotspot close to the surface, as you might guess from all the hotsprings and geysers.
    Geologically, it's a very active region.
     
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  3. Stevicus

    Stevicus Well-Known Member
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    Does this mean that Old Faithful isn't going to be faithful anymore? Last thing we need is a cheating geyser.
     
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  4. Brickjectivity

    Brickjectivity Snoopy's Worst Nightmare
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    There was a video, possibly a full film about some of this. They used computer simulations, and they said that they thought it would explode sometime in the next 100,000 years but not necessarily today. Basically the supervolcano on the simulation showed a cutaway view of what they thought was happening deep under Yellowstone. They said yes it could explode tomorrow but could not be specific if it would be tomorrow or 100,000 years from now or somewhere in between.

    Most of the film was not about whether it would happen or when but about what such a disaster would be like. Apparently the greatest danger would be from volcanic ash after the blast was over.

    Around 2016 NASA (in America) started some research on how to contain the volcano, and that probably got people buzzing about it. More recently there is an article in USA Today that says not to worry and that the caldera will show signs of danger before it blows. Why you can stop worrying Yellowstone's supervolcano is about to end the world
     
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  5. dianaiad

    dianaiad Well-Known Member

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    Oh, my.

    Ellen, I was born and raised in an area that, when and if Yellowstone erupts, will disappear. Most of my extended family lives up there, as well. This is not a matter of 'amateur science' here, but of pure geological research and "real" science. Yellowstone is indeed a super volcano which sits on a 'hot spot' that has 'gone off,' about every 650,000 years or so, give or take two or three thousand years one way or another. The last three eruptions were 2.1 million years ago, 1.2 million years ago and 640,000 years ago. So, eh....it could go any time, since it's sorta 'due,' or it could wait another 400,000 or more years. Nobody knows, and we don't have enough data yet, or enough knowledge about volcanoes in general, to predict when. We WILL be able to, according to my geologist relatives (and I have a ton of those) figure out when Yellowstone is getting REALLY dicey. We hope. There haven't been a whole lot of changes there over the last few decades, whether you like the 'yellowstone bulge' that raised the lake (and then lowered it again) or not.

    So...it's not unthinkable that Yellowstone could erupt within our lifetimes. As I mentioned, it's sorta 'due.' However, it could hold out for another couple of hundred thousand years. It WILL erupt sometime, however, and when it does....phew....g'bye America and hello global climate problems that the folks blaming humans for global warming have no clue about.

    What we should NOT do is give the paranoid folks too many problems about it. Yellowstone WILL explode someday, soon or late. We should also not, if we happen to live near that glorious place, pack up and move to Mexico...which is the closest habitable place that might be agriculturally usable after the eruption, for many, many years.

    I'd be more worried about Aetna or Vesuvius, frankly....and there is a supervolcano over there that might well go off before Yellowstone does. Perhaps India will start up it's volcano field again.

    Or we could get hit by an asteroid.

    Me? I'm nearly seventy, I have a disease that will probably take me out before I'm 75 if I make it that long, and I'm not going to get all exercised about it. My kids are on their own. They know all about Yellowstone and the 'ring of fire' and earthquakes and all the other natural disasters that the planet is prone to. We make our choices and live our lives, and stop going on 'YELLOWSTONE IS GOING TO ERUPT!" carnival rides to get the adrenaline up.
     
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  6. Valjean

    Valjean Veteran Member
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    The area is under constant monitoring by volcanologists and various other geologists. They'll let us know if any worrisome changes are seen.
     
  7. SomeRandom

    SomeRandom Still learning to be wise

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    Lol yeah and the people of Pompeii weren't concerned about Mt Vesuvius either.
    Don't become complacent and arrogant when it comes to nature. Because sooner or later it will kick your ***. At least people should be prepared to flee. Or it'll end up as some tourist zone with burnt people everywhere.
    Sure, they should just go about their business undisturbed, because I'm sure the scientists monitoring it will give the people any warning if it does "go off."

    Fear mongering is scientists ribbing the public's lack of knowledge by declaring the detriments of consuming too much dihydrogen monoxide. IOW scientists pulling pranks on the public to demonstrate why they eye roll every time some layman tells the expert about their field of expertise.
     
    #7 SomeRandom, Apr 19, 2019
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2019
  8. Ellen Brown

    Ellen Brown Well-Known Member
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    Today, it seems that the active volcanoes lie on top of active fault regions. My thinking is that its time is past.
     
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  9. Ellen Brown

    Ellen Brown Well-Known Member
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    We are of an age. Life has been rigourous and painful at times, though God has blessed me over and over in the face of tears and pain. The actions of some people around me have been more threatening and painful than any death a Volcano could inflict, me thinks. Surviving that condemnation has been a challenge. Just looking around, it seems that a Near Earth Object striking us could be devastating.

    Honoring and serving God is good.
     
  10. Brickjectivity

    Brickjectivity Snoopy's Worst Nightmare
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    This is coming from left field, but I wonder if we could use volcanoes to get rid of our garbage? Maybe we could somehow force the garbage down there where it would get maximum recycling.
     
  11. Sapiens

    Sapiens Polymathematician

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    A few facts:

    1) Yellowstone lies on a hot-spot like Hawaii (where I live), it is not on a subduction zone where crustal melt causes volcanism like the ring of fire.

    2) Hawaii is not explosive, Yellowstone is.

    3) Everything on Hawaii is going to someday be covered by more lava.

    4) Yellowstone is someday going to blow.
     
  12. Ellen Brown

    Ellen Brown Well-Known Member
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    In perhaps a few generations we could do it? :)
     
  13. Brickjectivity

    Brickjectivity Snoopy's Worst Nightmare
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    I am not ready to answer that. Perhaps in a few generations I can. :D
     
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  14. dianaiad

    dianaiad Well-Known Member

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    Actually, I understand that some 'Cosa Nostra' types actually tried that in Italy. They got garbage disposal contracts and dumped everything into Mt Vesuvius.

    They went to jail.


    It seems that doing this causes some problems.
     
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  15. Ellen Brown

    Ellen Brown Well-Known Member
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    If you familiarize yourself with the USGS Earthquake page, and achieve enough facility with Google maps to be able to find Latitude and Longitude of places, I think that you will see that most/or all large volcanic eruptions, save for the Hawaii hot spot, occurs within a few hundred miles of the red plate boundaries. The African Rift zone is another exception but those eruptions seem rather mild, mostly leading to magma slowly flowing from crevasse in the Earth. The recent Hawaiian activity seems rather mild also.

    I must caution you that I am not a Geologist, but the conclusions I've drawn above seem rather obvious.

    Latest Earthquakes
     
    #15 Ellen Brown, Apr 20, 2019
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2019
  16. Sapiens

    Sapiens Polymathematician

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  17. Erebus

    Erebus Well-Known Member

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    Scientists regularly come up with possible apocalyptic scenarios. These range from perfectly feasible (super-volcanoes, nuclear war, etc) to the realms of science fiction (grey goo, zombies, etc). I suspect a lot of it comes down to interest, in that the most dramatic scenarios tend to be the most fascinating, though there is often a very pragmatic element to it as well. If we know that a super-volcano could erupt, then how do we spot the warning signs? What can be done about it?

    Even the sci-fi scenarios can be useful. The CDC famously suggested a "zombie survival kit" for if the walking dead should ever roam the earth. Of course they don't actually believe we're in imminent danger of a zombie apocalypse, the scenario was used to capture people's interest. The guide actually contains very practical advice for disaster preparedness.

    Here's the blog for anybody interested: Preparedness 101: Zombie Apocalypse | | Blogs | CDC

    Now I'm aware that I've so far side-stepped the OP a little. It's undoubtedly true that these scenarios have been used for scaremongering, though I feel that you're looking at the wrong people here, Ellen. When various media sources get hold of some tidbit of scientific knowledge, they absolutely love to sex it up. The threat of disaster can be used to sell newspapers and many scientists have bemoaned their research being misrepresented to create a catchy headline. Look at the whole "Frankenfoods" debacle for an illustration of this.
     
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  18. Subduction Zone

    Subduction Zone Veteran Member

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    No, that would be the worst place to put it for "maximum recycling". It would be better to put it at the trench at the bottom of a Subduction Zone (hmm, that term sounds familiar). That is a boundary where oceanic plates are sinking back into the mantle. Volcanoes are where matter is coming back up and out, not down and in.
     
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  19. Subduction Zone

    Subduction Zone Veteran Member

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    The reason for the difference is that Hawaii is over oceanic plate, it is thin and what comes up is material that is a combination of a partial melt of mantle material and perhaps a little remelted oceanic plate. Basalts tend to be have a lower viscosity and the flow nicely. Yellowstone is over a thick continental plate. A lot of that is going to be remelted when the plume that drives Yellowstone gets a bit more active. That will cause the formation of rhyolitic (the same as granite but volcanic) flows. They are much much more viscous than the basalt that you are used to. It does not flow nicely but mixes a build up with a collapse quite often, think Mt. St. Helens, Multiplied by a thousand

    A bit of reading:

    Volcanoes and Volcanic Eruptions

    We should have plenty of warning if and before it happens. Expect land values to plummet if the Yellowstone area does start to make noise.
     
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