In order to understand possible future scenarios of intracaldera volcanism at Yellowstone, we provide new insights on the generation and eruption
of the youngest intracaldera rhyolitic magmas using quartz petrography, geochemistry, and geobarometry. We propose that magma ascent occurred
rapidly from the source regions at 8–10 km to the surface along major regional faults, without storage at shallower depths.
So just HOW rapidly? As in minutes, hours, or days? Well I don't know. Don't have access to the full scientific paper.
But what this does tell us is that according to the evidence, previous eruptions have come from the deep, and come fast. "Without storage at
shallower depths." They are able to discern these things from the different chemical makeups of the varying magma types at depth. Pressurization
varies with depth, and therefore affects the chemical makeup. Once erupted, these chemical signatures reveal the approximate depth from which the
The rest of the Abstract:
These source regions coincide with the upper parts of the present-day imaged magma chamber, while the faults focus much of the present-day caldera
unrest. Based on these combined observations, we propose that volcanism has a higher probability to resume in three fault-controlled NNW-trending
lineaments, the first coinciding with the western caldera rim, the second lying across the central region of the caldera, and the third extending
across the northeastern caldera. The first two lineaments focused recent intracaldera volcanism (174–70 ka), while the latter is the most active in
terms of current caldera unrest. Future volcanism could include large-volume lava flows and phreato-magmatic rhyolitic eruptions. The identification
of these three regions together with potentially rapid eruptive mechanisms may help to better define future monitoring efforts necessary to improve
eruption forecasting in this vast area of volcanic unrest.
And so what all this translates to is that we have one volatile behemoth on our hands, that science is just beginning to get a grip on. And grip or no
grip, what it means is that it could erupt at any time. To what extent there will be warnings through earthquakes and degassing is debatable. They
still don't know how or if the chambers connect down there, because the resolution of the seismic tomography is still limited.
So when you see someone like me start a new thread for the latest Yellowstone earthquake swarm, don't go running to Mamma and complain that we're
fearmongering on you again. Boo hoo.
NO, we're not fearmongering. That next earthquake swarm could be the START of something grotesquely horrific that will affect us all. Those 3 point
something quakes could all of a sudden turn into 5+ quakes in the midst of that new swarm, and all hell brake loose. So the concern IS justified, even
though over the years we have seen earthquake swarms, as well as uplift, come and go without further incident there.
Some of you may have heard that just recently a scientific paper was released that identified the sheer extent of a new, better-imaged deep magma
chamber. Which is even bigger than the previously thought size, which was bigger than the before that previously thought size, which was bigger than
the size they thought before that. Just how big it REALLY is appears to be somewhat of a mystery, because it keeps growing every time they "think"
again with a new tomography study. *sigh*
In this abstract above, it says that "The identification of these three regions together with potentially rapid eruptive mechanisms may help to
better define future monitoring efforts necessary to improve eruption forecasting in this vast area of volcanic unrest."
And to get more specific, what this means simply is where and how densely seismometers should be placed to better and more accurately monitor the
park- particularly along these now defined critical faults. Scientists monitoring Yellowstone have been struggling for years to improve the monitoring
there, and that part is not so simple. Monitoring sites are hard to come by, need to be studied carefully, are expensive, and are at the mercy of
approval by the National Park Service- which seeks to maintain its yearly income from tourism and keep those "intrusive" seismic stations to a
Well I say the hell with tourism and get this obese, bloated government to apportion a sizable budget increase to get that park covered out the ying
yang and give these scientists what they want and need. Nothing may be more important for the future of this country- and the world for that matter.
Because it may come down to sheer minutes if that monster decides it's been sleeping long enough. Enough of war expenditures already. Let's put the
money into catastrophe warning. At least that way the public could feel like their money went to something worthwhile. And it's honest. Imagine that.