Saturday, January 10, 2009

Volcanic Redux?

Shades of Mt. St. Helen! You may remember the event in Washington state on May 18, 1980 that took 1,314 feet off the top of the mountain. Triggered by a 5.1 magnitude earthquake beneath the mountain, the eruption was heard as far away as Bellingham, Washington, where we lived at the time. Newspaper accounts for weeks before the cataclysm speculated on the meaning of the three foot lateral bulge in the side of the mountain, a meaning which became horribly clear at the cost of 57 lives and over a billion dollars in damages.

If the earthquake swarms occurring in Yellowstone Park, an ancient caldera, are predictive of a volcanic eruption there, it could make the Mt. St. Helen eruption look like a mere popgun by comparison. The U.S. Geological Survey reports that Yellowstone is 40,000 years overdue for an eruption, (which if it should occur would result in Pandababy being permanently offline, as it would destroy several surrounding states). Of course, my blog (and the rest of me) being gone would be the least of the world's problems, as a nuclear winter of the kind unknown for millennium would test mankind's very survival as a species. A challenge of that magnitude puts all my little concerns in proper perspective. No worries, mate.

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