Supervolcano Melts Roads into "Asphalt Soup" at Yellowstone National Park

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Supervolcano Melts Roads into "Asphalt Soup" at Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone

The massive supervolcano beneath Yellowstone National Park is melting the asphalt roads in the area, leading to a partial closure of the park.

Tourists are being barred from certain areas of Yellowstone National Park due to roads melting under the volcanic activity. Specifically, the road between Old Faithful and Madison Junction is said to be "dangerously compromised," according to Yellowstone spokesman Dan Hottle.

"It basically turned the asphalt into soup," said Hottle. "It turned the gravel road into oatmeal."

Park officials warned tourists to avoid hiking in the affected areas or face a high probability of accidentally stepping into boiling hot water. Another park spokesman said the closure would only be temporary, but it is not known how long it will last. Three million people visit the park every year.

The supervolcano beneath Yellowstone hasn't erupted in 640,000 years, and in 2013, geologists discovered that it is two-and-a-half times larger than previously believed. The region experiences between 1000 and 2000 earthquakes a year due to volcanic activity.

According to the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory, "Contrary to some media reports, Yellowstone is not 'overdue' for a supereruption."

Of course, that's just what they want us to think. Are you at all concerned about the Yellowstone supervolcano? Have you visited the national park? As someone who studied vulcanology in college, I'd love to, one day.

Source: Raw Story

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Asphalt Soup, now that's a name for a biker bar if I've ever heard one.

I'm curious what would happen if it erupts.

After a little looking, it seems like the people covering the 'what if?' of this scenario are just trying to sell a doomsday story.

EDIT:

Rhykker:

InsanityRequiem:

Thanks for the info!

Lilani:
Asphalt Soup, now that's a name for a biker bar if I've ever heard one.

Batman eats a hearty breakfast of asphalt soup every morning, giving him that soothing, gravely voice.

-Dragmire-:
I'm curious what would happen if it erupts.

After a little looking, it seems like the people covering the 'what if?' of this scenario are just trying to sell a doomsday story.

Well... It's a supervolcano. I'm sure there are people who will exaggerate things, but it would certainly have worldwide impacts. A good chunk of the US would be buried in ash. The ash ejected into the atmosphere could easily take us into a nuclear winter, cooling temperatures by partially blocking out the Sun and certainly affecting global climate more than humans have.

While this doesn't mean the world will explode or that we're all doomed, apart from those directly affected by the ash burial (ie a good chunk of the US), the sudden climate change could lead to famine in parts of the world and have other widespread socioeconomic impacts.

Fortunately, the odds of Yellowstone erupting any time soon aren't particularly high.

-Dragmire-:
I'm curious what would happen if it erupts.

After a little looking, it seems like the people covering the 'what if?' of this scenario are just trying to sell a doomsday story.

To add to what Rhykker said, if the Yellowstone super volcano erupted, a good portion of Mid-West and Central US would be gone essentially from the ash. East US would not suffer as bad, but there would still be problems, particularly large scale food shortages because the East's main food source (Mid-West/Central US farming) would be wiped out. The West Coast (Oregon, CA, and Washington mostly, most likely a good chunk of the South West too) would not feel any major aftereffects until at least six months to a year after the eruption, as most of the ash will settle in the Atlantic/Europe/Asia areas.

The Southern Hemisphere will fare the best due to how the air streams conflict with those of the Northern Hemisphere. Africa, Australia, and South America will get a huge influx of refugees from the Northern Hemisphere. Air travel will be dead basically for a good two, three generations because of the ash clouds and whatever remains of North America will be completely restructured.

Rhykker:

Lilani:
Asphalt Soup, now that's a name for a biker bar if I've ever heard one.

Batman eats a hearty breakfast of asphalt soup every morning, giving him that soothing, gravely voice.

I don't believe that, you're going to have to provide some more concrete evidence than that.

In other news, when I first read this I had just been playing Kingdom Hearts II and just finished the Pirates of the Caribbean world, so when I saw your avatar it freaked me out just a bit.

I always feel a bit like I am constantly underestimating the dangers of a "Super Volcano." Like with many environmental phenomenon it is so hard to separate the fiction and reality. What is really going to happen if this volcano full on erupts? If its twice as big as they thought it was when they were scared about it years before, then is this one going to split the Earth in 2 if it goes off?

I mean that movie volcano didn't seem so bad. ( I mean it just seemed to rain ash, and destroy a tiny country town, but the world still worked.

What is the proper level of terror I should feel on a scale of one to ten?

Kameburger:

What is the proper level of terror I should feel on a scale of one to ten?

1....
You cant do anything about it, and if its going to erupt were probably going to know it around 60 secs before, so why bother?

On the bright note (which is ironically, not so bright XD), i'm getting tired of the sun, it gives me a lot of headaches, the ash ejected in the eruption would help me a lot :D..... :(

Kameburger:
What is the proper level of terror I should feel on a scale of one to ten?

Worldwide? Its about a 5. US-specific? That'd be an 8.

Supervolcanos are more "dangerous" because, essentially with a Volcano you have one big mountain that can spew forth lava and ash for a specific amount of time, which can be relatively long, but as said its one mountain essentially. A Supervolcano on the other hand can be one really big one, or several normal-sized Volcanos if it erupts, it'd be essentially several Volcanos erupting at once, at the same spot. Earthquakes, Fissures, Lava, thats just the initial issue and wouldnt cause much damage all things considered, the Ash though is a more significant problem because if Yellowstone or another Supervolcano were to erupt, we have no idea how long that eruption could last, or how much Ash and Dirt would be thrown up. We have very little data, or any theories on just how a supervolcano eruption would be like, given we havent seen one in recorded history.

Suffice to say, if Yellowstone were to erupt, one thing is for certain, Yellowstone would be gone after that.

Kameburger:
I always feel a bit like I am constantly underestimating the dangers of a "Super Volcano." Like with many environmental phenomenon it is so hard to separate the fiction and reality. What is really going to happen if this volcano full on erupts? If its twice as big as they thought it was when they were scared about it years before, then is this one going to split the Earth in 2 if it goes off?

I mean that movie volcano didn't seem so bad. ( I mean it just seemed to rain ash, and destroy a tiny country town, but the world still worked.

What is the proper level of terror I should feel on a scale of one to ten?

lol it won't split the Earth in 2. It's erupted before and we are all still here. And Volcano isn't a particularly accurate movie to base your ideas on. Dante's Peak is a much better depiction of what a good full-scale eruption is like (minus all the dramatic parts to make the movie more exciting; you won't outrun a pyroclastic cloud in a truck with no tires, or really in anything but an F22 for that matter) and it's a decent movie too.

As others said above, the effects would likely not be extinction level, but it would certainly flip the balance of world power and cause a lot of socio-economic problems.

Although the (global) threat of the super volcano under Yellowstone weighs heavy on many people, I'm more concerned as to exactly has been stealing all the picnic baskets...

Way to trivialise an impending natural disaster, Dave.

You know...I'm surprised this wasn't the case sooner. I've been hearing rumblings[1] about increased geological activity in the region, including increased temperatures and subterranean pressures.

Regardless, maybe it's time for another visit to Yellowstone. Haven't been there since I was a wee lad.

Jacco:
Dante's Peak is a much better depiction of what a good full-scale eruption is like (minus all the dramatic parts to make the movie more exciting; you won't outrun a pyroclastic cloud in a truck with no tires, or really in anything but an F22 for that matter) and it's a decent movie too.

Oh gods....SO much better. Volcano was just painful to watch. Especially the wealth of scenes featuring people standing mere friggin' inches from molten-hot lava without bursting into flames.

However, the scene in Dante's Peak with the boat in the lake of acid was a hell of a stretch. If it was that acidic even the fumes would have killed them.

Even so, absolutely agree. Dante's Peak was not only FAR more accurate but at least marginally watchable.

[1] Ba dum tish!

There's an Volcanic source melting asphalt? Ah yes, the Yellowstone Volcano, the story that caused me to be slightly depressed for 2 straight months after finding out what it was via a Cracked article. That one.

Wouldn't there be a way to drain the pressure? If only they could dig into it from the sides or something to drain the pressure a little at a time to prevent it from popping all at once.

I think Yellowstone IS erupting, has been for the past who-knows-how-many-years. A volcano's one pinprick on the planet, a pimple of the Earth, where tons of pressure builds up and blast out. Suppose your volcano was spread out over an area of open fissures and semi-to-fully liquid areas, with very little real blockage. Old Faithful blasts off like clockwork. Other geological wonders in there are bubbling and fuming and steaming at random. Every now and then, you get a bigger burp and the asphalt melts.

Question: Does Yellowstone actually get enough pressure TO go full blast-off? The way it is, it may let off way too much steam to pose that big long crisis. It may be that in order for it to really erupt big-time, the neutrinos would have to mutate THE LATINOS HAVE MUTATED! something enormous would have to be happening to the planet's pressures to create that force.

http://cdn.damninteresting.com/wp-content/uploads/2006/03/Yellowstone_Ash_Fall_Map.jpg

That is the last three eruptions ... notice that is the breadbasket for most of the world. So starvation is going to be a lot more common, especially here in the USA. And those of us here in the USA will have to get use to losing our superpower status for a very long time. Of course, won't have to worry about immigration for a long time either.

The chance of that volcano doing anthing more interesting than occasionally shaking or blasting hot water in to the air for the next hundred thousand years is pretty low. When it does go off, the whole world will notice, to a degree ranging from inconvenient to apocalyptic. If you are far away when it goes, it will mess with your grocery store prices pretty badly. If you are in the park when it goes, you will be incinerated before you have time to swear.

Overall current threat level: Trivial.

-Dragmire-:
I'm curious what would happen if it erupts.

After a little looking, it seems like the people covering the 'what if?' of this scenario are just trying to sell a doomsday story.

It is a doomsday story. This is one of very few "supervolcanos". supervolcano means that its many times larger than regular volcanos. if it erups in the same manner as other volcanos, the ash thrown into atmosphere is enough to cover entire globe for years. this ash does not allow sunlight in, which means plantlife would be dead. how long do you think we can live without plants?

Xan Krieger:
Wouldn't there be a way to drain the pressure? If only they could dig into it from the sides or something to drain the pressure a little at a time to prevent it from popping all at once.

if the pressure already exists, and you drain a hole into it, it will explode. for a home experiment take a baloon and try to drill a hole in the side with a nail, see how it reacts.

We must telephone Pierce Brosnan and Linda Hamilton, they will know what to do!

So Yellowstone is acting up, there's a massive doomsday hole in Russia and the scientists are claiming that we're on a brink of another mass extinction. I could use this shit to scare the living crap out of gullible people with poor grasp of logic and pattern recognition. I could start my own cult and make people give me their money and all of their earthly possessions in exchange for the salvation of their souls. But alas, I'm not a psychopath.

-Dragmire-:
I'm curious what would happen if it erupts.

Kameburger:

What is the proper level of terror I should feel on a scale of one to ten?

If the supervolcano in Yellowstone lets loose on a minor scale--7 at the minimum. As the other have said the ash fall will obliterate the bread basket and directly result in tens of millions of deaths within a week or so.

Then you have mass starvation coupled with the total break down of American society: No food transport. No medical drugs to the needy. Basic services like electricity and plumbing will be disrupted. Cell phone towers obliterated so everyone lacking a land line will lose the ability to communicate with others and most land lines will go down, too. Etc...etc...etc...

Then it gets worse: There are scores/hundreds of nuclear plants scattered across the U.S.; One of the true life disaster scenarios that are routinely ignored in Zombie or plague movies, etc, is that without proper attention any one of those plants could suffer a meltdown. With a disaster of this level dozens of plants would suffer meltdowns leading to Chernobyl-like catastrophes scattered all across the nation.

Furthermore a blast like this would produce high level earthquakes. With a supervolcanic erruption we'd be seeing earthquakes at 8 and 9 on the Rictor scale.

See the chart in Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richter_magnitude_scale

Next: If the supervolcano completely blasts away then we're looking at a Terror Level: 10. No doubt about it. Expect every building and bridge, etc, within 1,000 to 3,000 miles of the erruption to be leveled from class 10 earthquakes that would echo around the planet and back again--again and again and again...

If you're asking whether you should be afraid now then I'd say Terror Level 2 or 3. I've been paying attention to Yellowstone's supervolcano ever since I went on a family trip there in the mid 80's (I saw Old Faithful erupt right on time--this was before a local earthquake rendered Old Faithful rather less than faithful). The seismic activity has been steadily increasing for decades.

Yes, things are looking worse...though it could be 1000's or years before it goes up. Maybe 10,000 years or even more.

Or it could go up within our lifetime. That would be bad. Modern civilization would be hammered so hard most of the world's population would die off: We're looking at upwards of 5 to 6 billion of our current 7 billion dying from starvation, etc...

Most of the survivors would be hammered down into the stone age. I kid you not. For all intents and purposes the USA would be wiped off the map.

The lucky ones would be the ones who died first and quickly.

That's how bad it could be.

I cannot help but wonder if this is some sort of red flag.... that this thing might be on the verge of blowing? There have been a TON of "what-if" shows on this very volcano in particular... and the scenario in all of them is pretty scary. I honestly hope there isnt anything more to this.

Adam Jensen:
*snip*
But alas, I'm not a psychopath.

Damn your parents for raising you to be mentally balanced. They've deprived the world of one less kooky doomsday cult.

-Dragmire-:
I'm curious what would happen if it erupts.

After a little looking, it seems like the people covering the 'what if?' of this scenario are just trying to sell a doomsday story.

EDIT:

Rhykker:

InsanityRequiem:

Thanks for the info!

Here's a visual aid to what those two said. The red dot is Yellowstone. The brown is where all the ash is most likely to settle. It's roughly 2/3rds the US. In terms of pure economical impact, that region is where virtually ALL of the US's food and manufacturing takes place. We'd be screwed.

image

Kameburger:
I always feel a bit like I am constantly underestimating the dangers of a "Super Volcano." Like with many environmental phenomenon it is so hard to separate the fiction and reality. What is really going to happen if this volcano full on erupts? If its twice as big as they thought it was when they were scared about it years before, then is this one going to split the Earth in 2 if it goes off?

I mean that movie volcano didn't seem so bad. ( I mean it just seemed to rain ash, and destroy a tiny country town, but the world still worked.

What is the proper level of terror I should feel on a scale of one to ten?

If you live on planet Earth, or anywhere in reality, I usually find that a panic level of 10 is normal. I haven't dropped below that since I was about three years old.

The moment I read about roads melting, I could only think, "Oh dear. Now, it begins."

Scientists can't reassure anyone it won't erupt any more than they can predict when it will erupt. There are no guarantees. It could erupt tomorrow. Or 5,000 years from now. If it's tomorrow, chances are, you won't see next month. Anyone within 600 miles of Yellowstone won't see the next five minutes. They might be considered the lucky ones.

008Zulu:
We must telephone Pierce Brosnan and Linda Hamilton, they will know what to do!

That is remarkably similar to something Benjamin Disraeli said once.

This seems harmless, disturbing but harmless but when taken in light of this:
http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/136207-Giant-Mystery-Hole-Opens-in-Siberian-Region-Named-End-of-the-World

I think the conclusions are clear. The Mole People have begun their invasion. Fear not, we have prepared. We have already begun the reviving Theodore Roosevelt from Cryostasis. He too saw this day would come and has lain in sleep... ready to return should the mole people dare rise.

TiberiusEsuriens:

Yeesh, that puts things into perspective...

Copper Zen:

... and that's down right terrifying.

Lovely the Volcano Capable of causing a E.L.E. is waking up.

To bad we didn't invest much in alternate power otherwise we could be bleeding some of its geological activity off to slow down or depower a possible eruption.

as an internet expert on vulcanology i can safely predict that it wont seek to explode uncontrollably all over the place until it at least reaches pon farr.

Remember all those movies about super vulcanoes. Actually they are still getting made but usually direct to dvd/netflix.

Still a guilty pleasure all those movies.

I guess if we end up being killed by vulcano at least make the best of it right.

-Dragmire-:

TiberiusEsuriens:

Yeesh, that puts things into perspective...

Copper Zen:

... and that's down right terrifying.

That's just the part that settles. If a "super-eruption" were to occur, an incredible amount of ash would be ejected into the upper airstream, which would have profound implications for global climate, let alone that of the continental US.

I understand everyone's having fun going over the end of the world, but I did want to put some perspective on this. This is absolutely nothing to worry about. Not only can we do nothing about it, if we worry about this, we should also be worrying about:

1. Planet destroying asteroids
2. Solar System frying Quasars
3. Alien invasions
4. Supernatural powers unleashing themselves
5. Random nuclear missile firing due to computer error

And #5 is the most likely out of all of them to happen within our lifetime.

The Apple BOOM:
I understand everyone's having fun going over the end of the world, but I did want to put some perspective on this. This is absolutely nothing to worry about. Not only can we do nothing about it, if we worry about this, we should also be worrying about:

1. Planet destroying asteroids
2. Solar System frying Quasars
3. Alien invasions
4. Supernatural powers unleashing themselves
5. Random nuclear missile firing due to computer error

And #5 is the most likely out of all of them to happen within our lifetime.

As I hear it #5 nearly happened. A bug with potentially false positive results related to semi-rare natural conditions may have been caught in about the last round of tests before the NORAD MAD systems went into affect. Don't know if that is true or not, I got it 3rd hand and it might just be a computer science urban legend. Further, I obviously don't know the details of the system but assume that human intervention.

Also the person who told me was trying to teach me the importance of making bug proof code. So, could be complete bullshit though it was effective, I have a very low bug count for production systems.

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