Yellowstone Caldara Rising

As all of us who have been through Yellowstone Park know, there’s an enormous cooker below the stone that sends the geysers skyward and keeps the mud-pots burbling. Magma, from the bowels of the earth, collects in a great chamber, running uphill as it were from the tremendous pressures below. Measurements from space of the earth surface above the caldera have shown significant movement in the last year.

The surface of the Yellowstone caldera is now rising at 7 cm a year, according to a paper in this week’s Science. Wu-Lung Chang and colleagues used satellite measurements to measure uplift between 2004 and 2006 and found a rate three times faster than that measured in the 1920s. Chang thinks the results imply magma chambers below the surface are recharging.

Yellowstone Rising

Should it blow, which most are not suggesting, it would be the largest natural disaster of recorded history, scorching and burying under ash and earth all living creatures for hundreds of miles down wind. As to the silver lining, the ash suspended in the atmosphere would mask the sun and cool the earth, backing it away from the current warming trends.

You’d think enormous R&D would be turned towards sustainable use of the energies of these magma vaults, not to die out before the earth itself….

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