Yellowstone is not so super…

WHAT!

Just kidding – I still think Yellowstone is super-duper.

It’s just a new study that was released informing us that the supervolcano does not actually exist. It may just be a regular ol volcano that erupted twice 6,000 years apart.

Super-duper interesting:

Yellowstone supervolcano more active but ‘less super’ than previously thought

Aurum Geyser is one of many thermal features in Yellowstone National Park powered by geologic forces active since the first Yellowstone supervolacno eruptions, dating back millions of years. (Janet White - click to enlarge)

Aurum Geyser is one of many thermal features in Yellowstone National Park powered by geologic forces active since the first Yellowstone supervolacno eruptions, dating back millions of years. (Janet White – click to enlarge)

By Ruffin Prevost

CODY, WYO. — A new technique for dating rocks produced in volcanic eruptions indicates that the Yellowstone supervolcano was more active than previously thought, but also bit less super.

Researchers have just published the findings of a study that suggests a Yellowstone supervolcano eruption believed to have happened 2 million years ago was in fact two separate eruptions separated by at least 6,000 years. The discovery could require geologists studying the Yellowstone supervolcano and other similar sites to recalibrate their geologic clocks a bit, while also offering a better idea of what the future holds for the still-active region around Yellowstone National Park.

In a study funded by the National Science Foundation and published in the June issue of Quaternary Geochronology, researchers at Washington State University and the Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre used a high-precision argon isotope dating method to make the new calculations.

“The Yellowstone volcano’s previous behavior is the best guide of what it will do in the future,” said Ben Ellis, co-author of the study and a post-doctoral researcher at Washington State University’s School of the Environment. “This research suggests explosive volcanism from Yellowstone is more frequent than previously thought.”

Yellowstone supervolcano eruptions over millions of years have formed giant calderas, including the Island Park Caldera (shown in green) from the Huckleberry Ridge eruptions. (USGS - click to enlarge)

Yellowstone supervolcano eruptions over millions of years have formed giant calderas, including the Island Park Caldera (shown in green) from the Huckleberry Ridge eruptions. (USGS – click to enlarge)

The Huckleberry Ridge explosion of more than 2 million years ago formed the Island Park Caldera, which lies under the western half of Yellowstone Park and extends into the adjacent Island Park area of Idaho. Geologists have typically accepted that the caldera and the related Huckleberry Ridge Tuff rock formations still visible in the park were formed by a single cataclysmic explosion that was among the largest in the earth’s history.

Until now, “nobody had taken the time to go out and test each part,” Ellis said Monday during a telephone interview with Yellowstone Gate.

So that’s exactly what Ellis decided to do, traveling about two years ago to the area around Flagg Ranch, just south of Yellowstone Park. The Huckleberry Ridge Tuff extends from Yellowstone south into the Grand Teton National Park area, and some of the best examples of the 2-million-year-old rocks are around Flagg Ranch, Ellis said.

The Huckleberry Ridge Tuff is visible at spots in Yellowstone’s Golden Gate Canyon, about three miles south of Mammoth Hot Springs.

Read the rest of the article

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Photo of the Day – Volcano

A few cinder cone volcanoes anyone?

Welcome to Hawaii! I took a course on the big island a few summers ago (c/o my school – thanks!) and learned about the geoscience behind those gorgeous little islands.

This was taken when I first was given my digital SLR camera from my father. I had no idea how to use it (and am still learning)*, but I knew it took a great photo!

*note to self – must work on depth of field and colour balance

Atop Heleakala National Park, Hawaii

Hawaii Five-O…Part II

I haven’t talked very much about my trip to Hawaii that I traveled to 3 summers ago. It was absolutely spectacular, amazing, breath-taking, awe inspiring…

Lava slipping onto the road...

Maybe I don’t talk about it much because I secretly want to pick everything up, and move there and then never leave.

Anyway……the tv reminded me about my trip from August 2009. Why?

Well, CSI used to be my favorite show, back in the day when I actually watched tv.

A few things made me switch on my television, after a long summer hiatus:

1. Now that it’s fall again, there are new shows that seem interesting.

2. I don’t want to constantly be outside as much, when its so cold and constantly raining.

3.  I discovered the ‘on demand’ option with my cable, and it is easy to access most tv shows when I want to!

4. I was bored.

And as a result, I have been watching several pretty awesome tv programs.

For some reason, my ‘on demand’ program promoted the new tv series (I guess it’s in it’s second season), the NEW Hawaii Five-O.

So I watched the first episode….then the second. It is goooood.

Why?

#1 the scenery – sigh, I miss Hawaii. Even though it is mostly filmed in O’ahu, one island that was just great, (but not spectacular*), the scene is set.

*pssst – Honolulu is actually a quite amazing city, but I am talking about Hawaii in a geoscience, natural point of view. Honolulu was such a great city to visit, can’t wait to go back there, but other islands (Maui, Kauai, and most importantly, the Big Island), have more appeal to my interests.

#2 the story – CSI. Should I say more? It’s the same thing. Why isn’t it CSI Honolulu? Ok, maybe not fair, since I have only seen 2 episodes.

#3 the actors/actresses – one from ‘Lost’, one from teen movies (forget his name, but he is entertaining), one from a secret show I used to occasionally watch (don’t laugh): Battlestar Galactica.

#4 I teach about Hawaii every year in my class. I have to talk about it all the time, and daydream about how fascinating creation process led to a series of islands slowly popping above sea-level from a hot-spot beneath the earth. Want the lesson? I’ll gladly teach you.

Me thinks it’s time for me to stop watching this show. The desire to pick up everything and run to Hawaii is too great. Can’t-stop-no-resistance-10-hour-flight-volcanoes-hiking-seafood-mountains…..sigh.

Observatories on the Big Island