Today’s good news!

Slide01XIn Walla Walla, it’s sprinkling just enough to make a horse’s back wet. The Federal Government shutdown has closed the areas I’d planned to take Snip on a long ride tomorrow, and the GSA photo contest just cratered because the new corporate sponsor closed its doors and laid off all its employees yesterday morning–of course with no prior notice to them. So it’s time for some cheery good news. And I have some!
First, gasoline prices are down.
Second, and even better, coffee prices have dropped, and with the best coffee crop on record, and the growing practice of shipping beans in great big containers, rather than teeny burlap sacks, the downward price spiral is likely to continue. (Perhaps some day, we will fill the supertankers with coffee beans rather than oil!)
But best of all, we don’t have to lie awake at night worrying about Yellowstone blowing up and burying Kansas beneath a gazillion feet of volcanic ash.
Now, maybe you have other things that keep you awake late into the night. But as a geologist, I know that Yellowstone supervolcano erupted 1.85 million, 1.2 million, and 640,000 years ago. Do the math. Any minute now, she could blow. (At least, with the National Parks closed now, there would be no tourist fatalities.) (Perhaps this is what the Republicans were thinking of when they closed down the government. That, and ditching the IRS, but that’s another story.)
So, imagine my relief to learn this morning that New Research (Yes, funded by the now-comatose National Science Foundation) reveals that Yellowstone is unlikely to erupt anytime soon.
According to a new analyses by the Univ of Oregon’s Ilya N. Bindeman, and grad student Dana Drew, Yellowstone is reaching, or has reached, the end of its eruptive cycle. (The story is complicated, involving hafnium isotopes and tiny, recycled zircons, and uses Picabo volcano, Yellowstone’s 10.6 – 6 million year-old, older sibling,buried beneath basalts near Twin Falls–as a model.) The bottom line: these huge supervolcanoes generate their lavas and explosive ash by melting the lower crust. Yellowstone has pretty much used up all this material, and it is unlikely to erupt again.
What Bindeman and colleagues DO suggest is that the Yellowstone hotspot will likely next erupt in Montana. But not for a million years or so. We can all rest easily now. (Unless you live in Butte.)
And come to think of it, since Yellowstone is reaching the end of its useful cycle, perhaps the National Park Service should sell the property while its real estate values are high. One more way to cut the deficit. We have a million years to reinvest in the next Yellowstone National Park.

2 thoughts on “Today’s good news!

  1. Whew! THAT’S a big load off my mind… A million years – I thought sure it was more in the 500,000 year range… 🙂

  2. Always happy to be the bearer of glad tidings!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s