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15 years of magma inflation near Three Sisters, Oregon- and its implication for Yellowstone

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posted on Mar, 5 2012 @ 03:59 PM
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In this interesting article, written by John Vidale, who is now an ATS member, John details the ground uplift that has been happening with very little seismic fanfare to the west of the South Sister at Three Sisters volcanoes in Oregon.



The first figure locates the Sisters volcanos, showing a green star for the location of the center of uplift. Note that the uplift is not centered on any of the existing volcanoes on the surface. The uplift is estimated by satellite-based radar measurements - suffice it to say they are sophisticated and cutting edge.


pnsn.org...

Please read it before continuing to comment, as your comments are now under the scrutiny of a professional.

My primary purpose with this article is to bring an important question to the community, and try and decipher why there is currently intention right now, and plans in place, for the monitoring of all US volcanoes to be turned over to the NEIC, who has a 24/7 operation in place, but yet that does NOT specialize in volcanic monitoring.

It's a stupid move, is my point.

John and his source document detail the fact that basaltic magma may present particular difficulties in identification of movement. And you more astute readers may have already made the connection: Yellowstone.

At the very deepest levels in the huge magma chamber, Yellowstone is composed of basaltic type magma, with rhyolitic type magma more near the top of the chamber. Thus, detection of magma at the deepest levels is especially difficult there. Not only is it very deep, any movement at that level will likely attenuate seismic signals to such a degree that under current monitoring capabilities, you might as well forget it. The lack of more broadband stations around the park plays into this.


Several conclusions are apparent. First, Sisters is active and bears close monitoring. Second, were this injection to lead to an eruption, it might form a new vent, however it is important to remember that much more magma is injected into the crust than erupted on the surface. Third, the volume injected is modest, so that it would take many such injections to provide the magma for a significant eruption. Fourth, we cannot count on seismicity to provide clear signals of injection - study of deformation is a critical complement to seismic monitoring.


They are going to turn over monitoring of Yellowstone, along with all the other US volcanoes, to the NEIC, who are good at earthquakes, but are not volcanologists. I have that based upon inside information, and it did not come from John. Perhaps John would care to elaborate.
edit on Mon Mar 5th 2012 by TrueAmerican because: (no reason given)




posted on Mar, 5 2012 @ 04:06 PM
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reply to post by TrueAmerican
 


so i gave this an in depth skim(lol), so it seems as if a buch of magma is building up in the north west, is that what i can take from this?



posted on Mar, 5 2012 @ 04:10 PM
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off-topic post removed to prevent thread-drift


 



posted on Mar, 5 2012 @ 04:36 PM
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Great article you found there! It sort of worries me that they didn't even have seismicity meters in the area till 2001, missing the initial events. At least they could see the up swell though. I wish there was some way to donate more sensors.



posted on Mar, 5 2012 @ 05:07 PM
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Just to be clear, Dave Schmidt and his student did the work, I just stole their figures and wrote the summary last Sunday night.

Also, NEIC might be in line to do the 24/7 monitoring of the volcanoes in the short-term, but the regional observatories would still operate, and the regional seismic networks would still collate and analyze the seismic data. Under the original, full NVEWS plan, the 24/7 center would shift to Alaska if funding rises to sufficient levels.

As far as wishing for more sensors, we always want more, and more people to maintain them, but face fiscal realities. Sisters is fairly low on our priority list, there are at least 5 more threatening volcanoes in the Cascades, some also not well covered.

Actually, the PNSN just locates the earthquakes, and the Cascade Volcano Observatory (CVO) has to deal with notifying the public what's up.



posted on Mar, 5 2012 @ 05:29 PM
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Originally posted by JohnVidale
Also, NEIC might be in line to do the 24/7 monitoring of the volcanoes in the short-term, but the regional observatories would still operate, and the regional seismic networks would still collate and analyze the seismic data. Under the original, full NVEWS plan, the 24/7 center would shift to Alaska if funding rises to sufficient levels.


Yeah, and that's my whole point, John. The observatories, from what I am observing myself with resources now on the inside, are for some reason not wanting to implement 24/7 AT THEIR OWN PLACES. For some reason! I just don't understand it. If there was an emergency, and rapid onset precursors started occurring, that needs to be immediately assessed by volcanologists, not NEIC people. Why in the world would you all even for one MINUTE leave the watch of YS and LV in the hands of NEIC?

And I am coming right out to say it- It's just irresponsible in my view. If something were to happen bad in that ramp up time at NEIC, you guys are "going to be crucified," as so amply put, by another person of your caliber, John, directly to me. And I might add, that came from someone on the inside directly involved with YS and LV, too.


Actually, the PNSN just locates the earthquakes, and the Cascade Volcano Observatory (CVO) has to deal with notifying the public what's up.


Would it be fair to say then that PNSN is the seismic monitoring component of the CVO? And is that the SOLE seismic monitoring network component? Or is PNSN supplemented by others to the CVO? If so, could you tell us those networks please?

(EDIT: Also notice that John has not taken up the more technical aspects of my comments, in any attempt to either qualify the accuracy or misunderstanding of my basis in basaltic magma characteristics for my OP.)
edit on Mon Mar 5th 2012 by TrueAmerican because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 5 2012 @ 05:42 PM
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As an Oregon resident, I have been aware of the situation in Sisters for a while. I actually take a yearly camping trip at the Newbery Crater, which is not too far from Sisters.

For quite a while the theory was that a new mountain was forming in the Sisters area. Now it seems the theory is shifting to a buildup in the caldera.

Will be a very interesting situation to watch.



posted on Mar, 5 2012 @ 05:50 PM
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Originally posted by TrueAmerican

Originally posted by JohnVidale
Also, NEIC might be in line to do the 24/7 monitoring of the volcanoes in the short-term, but the regional observatories would still operate, and the regional seismic networks would still collate and analyze the seismic data. Under the original, full NVEWS plan, the 24/7 center would shift to Alaska if funding rises to sufficient levels.


Yeah, and that's my whole point, John. The observatories, from what I am observing myself with resources now on the inside, are for some reason not wanting to implement 24/7 AT THEIR OWN PLACES. For some reason! I just don't understand it. If there was an emergency, and rapid onset precursors started occurring, that needs to be immediately assessed by volcanologists, not NEIC people. Why in the world would you all even for one MINUTE leave the watch of YS and LV in the hands of NEIC?


Our reality is that earthquakes are 90% of our risk, roughly $600M/yr in estimated annualized earthquake losses, volcanoes are 10%. They have different predictability and mitigation strategies, but still our emphasis is on earthquakes. We are foremost concerned with building monitoring that will actually function during a disaster, no mean feat, then making our coverage more complete, and then manning it 24/7. We are alerted by beepers for any earthquakes over M3 24 hours a day.

Bottom line is we'd be glad to run an office staffed 24/7, but have several higher priorities in the surprising case that more money comes in from the Federal government soon. A couple of other perks we'd like to install are deformation meters offshore to watch for clue to impending M9 quakes such as just hit Japan, and an earthquake early warning system to give people seconds or even minutes of heads up before shaking arrives.


Originally posted by TrueAmerican
And I am coming right out to say it- It's just irresponsible in my view. If something were to happen bad in that ramp up time at NEIC, you guys are "going to be crucified," as so amply put, by another person of your caliber, John, directly to me. And I might add, that came from someone on the inside directly involved with YS and LV, too.


If we counted the ways we could be crucified, we'd need more fingers and toes. Our emphasis is doing as much as we can with available resources. People do not seem eager even to pay their existing tax bill at the moment.


Originally posted by JohnVidaleActually, the PNSN just locates the earthquakes, and the Cascade Volcano Observatory (CVO) has to deal with notifying the public what's up.



Originally posted by TrueAmerican
Would it be fair to say then that PNSN is the seismic monitoring component of the CVO? And is that the SOLE seismic monitoring network component? Or is PNSN supplemented by others to the CVO? If so, could you tell us those networks please?


CVO has seismologists, who also look at the data with us, and usually are looking even more frequently than we are. We were just puzzling together over some signals this morning via email. PNSN collects the data and runs all the software. But there is also deformation monitoring and some gas and visual monitoring from CVO, as well.



posted on Mar, 5 2012 @ 06:21 PM
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TA, nice thread

thanks for bringing this up.
John..Thank you for coming to ATS



posted on Mar, 5 2012 @ 06:41 PM
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Originally posted by JohnVidale

Originally posted by TrueAmerican
Would it be fair to say then that PNSN is the seismic monitoring component of the CVO? And is that the SOLE seismic monitoring network component? Or is PNSN supplemented by others to the CVO? If so, could you tell us those networks please?


CVO has seismologists, who also look at the data with us, and usually are looking even more frequently than we are. We were just puzzling together over some signals this morning via email. PNSN collects the data and runs all the software. But there is also deformation monitoring and some gas and visual monitoring from CVO, as well.


Now why is it that I am asking specific questions, and you are giving me roundabout answers? That didn't even BEGIN to answer those questions. Not even one of the three. Can you please answer the questions?



posted on Mar, 5 2012 @ 07:06 PM
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reply to post by TrueAmerican
 


Ok, I'll skip the attempt to format this right, maybe it interferes with my interleaving the answers closely enough for me to remember the specific questions I'm trying to answer.

Originally posted by TrueAmerican
Would it be fair to say then that PNSN is the seismic monitoring component of the CVO?


We work together, there are seismologists and technicians in both places. We install the seismometers on the volcanoes and the data telemetry paths together. The data all flows to the UW, and from there is examined by scientists at both places.

And is that the SOLE seismic monitoring network component?

That is all there is to the seismology. There are also tilt meters, GPS sensors, gas sensors, and sometimes visual monitoring run and interpreted by the folks at CVO, with no help from the PNSN.

Or is PNSN supplemented by others to the CVO? If so, could you tell us those networks please?

That all, except PNSN is embedded in the ANSS, the national system of regional seismic networks. So we interleave at our edges with seismic networks in California, Nevada, Utah, Montana, and Canada, and archive our data at the IRIS DMC in Seattle.

CVO shares some interpretive capabilities with the other volcano observatories - LVO, HVO, AVO, and YVO. Any of them can look at the others' seismograms remotely.

Were those the three questions?



posted on Mar, 5 2012 @ 07:17 PM
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post removed because the user has no concept of manners

Click here for more information.



posted on Mar, 5 2012 @ 07:30 PM
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so magma north west?



posted on Mar, 5 2012 @ 07:34 PM
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Originally posted by TrueAmerican
Now why is it that I am asking specific questions, and you are giving me roundabout answers? That didn't even BEGIN to answer those questions. Not even one of the three. Can you please answer the questions?


What are you so cranky about?

I thought you'd appreciate the fact that this guy bothered to post in your thread.



posted on Mar, 5 2012 @ 07:45 PM
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Originally posted by JohnVidale
The data all flows to the UW, and from there is examined by scientists at both places.

And is that the SOLE seismic monitoring network component?

That is all there is to the seismology.


Now correct me if I am wrong, but doesn't the CVO (CC) or UW have a few of its own seismometers at Mt. Hood, apart from those operated by PNSN? HOOD is one of those stations, I believe.

That might seem off topic to moderators, but bear with me.



posted on Mar, 5 2012 @ 07:47 PM
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Originally posted by ColAngus
What are you so cranky about?

I thought you'd appreciate the fact that this guy bothered to post in your thread.

I was wondering the same thing? And I doubt John is responsible for the proposed/coming realignment of duties.

After reading the USGS NVEWS page, and a scan of the abstracts for 2 of the linked papers, it sounds like the involved parties are looking for a way to improve volcano monitoring. Where's the problem?
edit on 3/5/2012 by Olivine because: typo



posted on Mar, 5 2012 @ 07:56 PM
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reply to post by TrueAmerican
 


Good point, the ownership of seismometers is less straightforward than their operation. All data flows first to UW, then is examined mostly at UW, but also by Seth Moran and Co at CVO, and a number of other people.

CVO does "own" some stations, as does Hanford Nuclear Reservation, and the USGS, and the State of Oregon, as well as the UW. It may become even more complicated with the advent of cheap sensors that are easier to buy and plant than process.

Another upcoming complication is earthquake early warning, in which the entire Cascadia subduction would need monitoring as a whole, spanning from California up well into Canada. We haven't figured that one out yet.



posted on Mar, 5 2012 @ 07:59 PM
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reply to post by Olivine
 


Olivine - great name. Apparently I haven't yet permission to use the messaging system here, meant to mention that I liked your posts on the Rainier thread.



posted on Mar, 5 2012 @ 08:08 PM
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Originally posted by JohnVidale
reply to post by TrueAmerican
 


Good point, the ownership of seismometers is less straightforward than their operation. All data flows first to UW, then is examined mostly at UW, but also by Seth Moran and Co at CVO, and a number of other people.

CVO does "own" some stations, as does Hanford Nuclear Reservation, and the USGS, and the State of Oregon, as well as the UW. It may become even more complicated with the advent of cheap sensors that are easier to buy and plant than process.


And when someone at NEIC doesn't even realize the resources that may be at their fingertips, and misses an important event at a station they didn't even know existed because this is all so complicated, what will you say then? Just another way to be crucified, right?

Steve Malone himself already showed, in his own article on the Mt. Hood recent seismicity at the PNSN blog, that even he could have commented on seismicity better had he used two stations on the CC network, instead of the other one he claimed was closer to the seismicity. And the point is, if top level directors of entire seismic networks can make these simple mistakes, what in the HECK can we expect from NEIC in an emergency? It will be amazing if they can keep the beeper number handy, and not lose it.

It's just a bad move man, and you guys really REALLY need to reconsider that.



posted on Mar, 5 2012 @ 08:29 PM
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reply to post by TrueAmerican
 


Steve was saying that we saw no seismicity prior to the 2004 swarms, but we couldn't have seen it even it were present before 2001 or 2002 because CVO hadn't yet installed their seismograms, which we process.

Yes, NEIC is not ideal, but maintaining 24-hour service in Seattle requires hiring an 8-person rotation (minus a couple who we already have for the working day), a fraction of $1M per year. NEIC is already 24/7 for earthquakes. So we'd compromise, if this plan takes effect - they'll call and stir us to action, or our beepers will wake us and we'll get online, and be ready to interpret in less than an hour.

We can only do what we have funds to pay for.



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