Yellowstone Volcano: Scientists Claim Supervolcano Eruption Prediction, Boiling Geysers Kill Dogs

The Yellowstone volcano has become something of a boogieman for adults, with some worrying that a Yellowstone supervolcano eruption could occur in their lifetimes. While the USGS finds this scenario unlikely, some Americans are uncertain about these predictions, and fears may have sparked recently when dogs were said to have been boiled alive in geysers that normally are like warm baths. Perhaps in response to all this rampant speculation, a team of scientists have developed a method in 2015 which they claim can make a Yellowstone volcano prediction.

In a related report by the Inquisitr, some scientists believe that fracking the Yellowstone volcano for energy is not a good idea at all. Another scientist also claimed that questions about the Yellowstone supervolcano have become annoying because a "Yellowstone eruption is so unlikely."

The USGS' Yellowstone volcano prediction agrees with that assessment, although some might not find the odds too comforting since a royal flush in poker has about a 0.000154% chance of happening.

"Given Yellowstone's past history, the yearly probability of another caldera-forming eruption could be calculated as 1 in 730,000 or 0.00014%. However, this number is based simply on averaging the two intervals between the three major past eruptions at Yellowstone — this is hardly enough to make a critical judgment. This probability is roughly similar to that of a large (1 kilometer) asteroid hitting the Earth. Moreover, catastrophic geologic events are neither regular nor predictable."
A recent National Geographic documentary about the Yellowstone volcano is not nearly as comforting. Their narrator claimed a Yellowstone supervolcano eruption was just a matter of time.

"How do we know it will happen, because it has happened before," National Geographic's show claimed. "Its ash cloud would overwhelm humanity across globe, so predicting an eruption could be matter of life and death. The impact would be on the scale of an asteroid impact."

They are not underestimating the damage caused by a supervolcano. Computer models of the burning ash clouds claim that most of the American Midwest would be buried in layers of the stuff, and even the initial eruption would be on the scale of a nuclear explosion.

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Yellowstone Supervolcano Fears

Michael Yuri Janitch is a science enthusiast who enjoys monitoring global seismic activity. When he heard about the dogs who were killed while walking in an area of the Yellowstone National Park, he speculated that earthquakes and higher underground temperatures could be connected.

"I bring this to you not to be scared but to be prepared just in case," he said, according to Express. "The man and his two dogs were walking through the Salmon-Challis National Forest, 50 miles north west of Salmon, east-central Idaho, when the animals plunged into the water. It is normally temperate enough for humans to bathe in.... Now we've got someone who jumped into a hot spring and got boiled and is lucky to be alive and it all comes on the heels of the earthquake activity."

The geology enthusiast believes this accident is a sign of increasing heat coming from the ground, and questions whether it is a sign of an impending eruption. He doubts it can be explained away by "water flow feed in and cool down" since the boiling geyser "immediately killed one dog as soon as it hit the water."

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Yellowstone Volcano Prediction System

Guilherme Gualda, associate professor of earth and environmental sciences at Vanderbilt University, believes we have no reason to worry. While geologists have a developed a number of techniques for estimating time and measuring different processes, he says there is a general lack of consensus in the scientific community due to the lack of resolution related to these methods. But Gualda says his project has developed a new method which can predict a supervolcano eruption within a time frame relatable to humans.

"Our current method will also work on smaller volcanic systems, as long as they erupt magmas that contain quartz crystals," explained Ayla Pamukcu, who is now a post-doctoral researcher at Brown and Princeton Universities. "We are also confident that we can adapt these techniques to work with other minerals, which will allow us to make similar timescale calculations for other types of magmas and volcanoes, like the low-silica basalts commonly erupted from Hawaiian volcanoes."

The basic premise to their method is that magma bodies grow very small quartz crystals after a giant eruption occurs. When the crystals are floating in hot magma, a faceting process occurs, and by examining these crystals through 3D X-ray tomography they can use them as a means of measurement.

"Previous studies provided us with the data we needed to calculate the rate of the faceting process. We then used this rate, in combination with our shape measurements, to calculate how long the crystal existed in the magma before the eruption," said Pamukcu, according to the Daily Mail.

In regards to a future Yellowstone volcano eruption, Gualda claims their method shows no cause for concern, and even when the day does come America will be given plenty of warning.

"The hot spot under Yellowstone National Park has produced several super-eruptions in the past," he explained. "The measurements that have been made indicate that this magma body doesn't currently have a high-enough percentage of melt to produce a super-eruption. But now we know that, when or if it does reach such a state, we will only have a few hundred years to prepare ourselves for the consequences."

[Image via Natural News]