Currently NASA put’s their SOFIA every day in the air. SOFIA (Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy) is built into a converted Boeing 747SP.
SOFIA’s 2.5-meter (8.2-foot)-diameter infrared telescope will make it the world’s largest and most sensitive airborne observatory. Flying at 39,000 to 45,000 feet, it will enable scientific observations that are impossible for even the largest and highest of Earth-based telescopes.
Already four days during sunrise/sunset NASA is monitoring the sun but yesterday, June 12, 2017 flightradar24 shows that they monitoring Yellowstone National Park too.
Remember the Massive Lake of Molten Carbon the size of Mexico recently found under Yellowstone?
The molten carbonate sits beneath Yellowstone National Park, which in and of itself is a super volcano with the power of a massive eruption. The last major eruption was 640,000 years ago at Yellowstone, however if the super volcano did erupt it could cause the US to go into a volcanic winter.
If NASA puts its SOFIA in the air it’s important. This Bird of Prey doesn’t go ‘hunting’ unless there is something TO hunt, they watching something, bet on it!
Of the 30 known super volcanos worldwide, Yellowstone National Park’s super volcano is said to be the only one located on land. The Yellowstone caldera is also considered to be the largest super volcano located on the continent. Yellowstone National Park derived its name from the nearby Yellowstone Lake whose hedge waters lie in close proximity. Yellowstone National Park was established on March 1, 1872 and dedicated by President Grant as being the first national park in North America. Located primarily in the US state of Wyoming it also touches into parts of Idaho and Montana, and is said to be as large as the areas of Rhode Island and Delaware combined. Not only is it home to a wide array of free roaming animals (most notably, bison) it also boasts to have over 10,000 active thermal features, and over 300 active geysers (Old Faithful being the most widely known of these, which is said to erupt every 91 minutes).
It is no wonder that it is visited by over 3 million visitors every year. Nature enthusiasts can enjoy a variety of recreational activities and can explore the 12 major rivers, 40 major waterfalls, as well as its Grand Canyon or its Grand Prismatic Spring (hot springs). They can also sit and observe the frolic of 18 fish species, 311 bird species, 6 reptile species, 4 amphibian species, and 5 endangered or threatened species. Or perhaps, they may wish to simply marvel at the many petrified trees, or the old Lodge pole pines whose lifespan can be exceed 200 years.
As pristine and lush as this ecosystem region is, one cannot help but wonder with all this thermal intensity, when will this super volcano erupt again (especially when it experiences over 2000 earthquakes yearly)? And what impact will it have?
On March 24, 2014 videos went viral showing bison and elk fleeing Yellowstone National Park en masse. As animals are said to sense danger long before humans can, speculation mounted, and fears grew that perhaps the super volcano may soon erupt. Did these animals have a sixth sense that something was going to occur? Or did they sense that it was time again to cull the heard (by means of slaughter to keep their population from exploding)? In February 2014 300-600 bison in the area were to be rounded up and transported to slaughterhouses. Agreements with tribal entities entitled that all meat, hide and heads from these bison be distributed among the local Native American tribes who have lived on these lands for over 11,000 years. In April 2014, Park Officials and Scientists also made a statements suggesting that the bison feeing incident was not caused by impending volcanic activity but rather a “natural migratory “response. That same week, an earthquake (magnitude 4.8 struck). This earthquake was the largest recorded since 1980. Could it have been this that the heard sensed?
More recently, in July 2014 headlines read that Yellowstone was so hot it was melting the roadways. “It basically turned the asphalt into soup. It turned the gravel road into oatmeal,” Yellowstone spokesman Dan Hottle said.
According to the US Geological Survey records, the Yellowstone super volcano last erupted 640,000 years ago. The question is, are we overdue for a next eruption? While most scientists say it is unlikely to erupt in our lifetime, other Geologists report some alarming new trends such as Last December, it was reported that the magma reservoir beneath the supervolcano is two-and-a-half times larger than previously thought. And while temperatures fluctuate regularly making it plausible to soften nearby asphalt, it was reported that “the latest wave seems worse than usual”.
So what effects would a super volcanic eruption cause in today’s age? Ash projection maps and computer simulation tephramodels (like Ash3D) and other technologies show that approximately 3 meters of ash would cover the Rocky Mountains and a few centimeters of dust would cover cities extending to both coasts of the US.
The past 80 or so recorded eruptions have had little or no impact on neighboring regions. Likewise the last 20 recorded eruptions have not had any ash impact outside Yellowstone National Park, and consisted mainly of lava flow.
Scientists suggest that the following signs would precede an eruption of a large magnitude. There would have to be significant earthquake swarms of magnitudes M4 and above as well as extreme uplift surrounding the caldera “of at least tens of inches per year”. In April 2013 it was reported that Yellowstone’s volcano’s magma chamber (which is responsible for creating uplift around the geysers is 50% larger than previously imagined).
It is hard to predict exactly when this super volcano will erupt. With variables such as erratic heat fluctuations and magma flows, and the limitation of only having access to certain types of measuring and predictive devices tends to complicate prediction matters even more.
SCIENTISTS have warned the world is in “volcano season” and there is up to a 10% chance of an eruption soon killing millions of people and devastating the planet. Instances of volcanic eruptions are their highest for 300 years and scientists fear a major one that could kill millions and devastate the planet is a real possibility. Experts at the European Science Foundation said volcanoes – especially super-volcanoes like the one at Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, which has a caldera measuring 34 by 45 miles (55 by 72 km) – pose more threat to Earth and the survival of humans than asteroids, earthquakes, nuclear war and global warming. There are few real contingency plans in place to deal with the ticking time bomb, which they conclude is likely to go off within the next 80 years. The world’s most dangerous active volcanoes include Yellowstone, Mount Vesuvius in Campagnia, Italy, and Popocatépetli near Mexico City.
Whether an eruption takes place in our lifetime, or thousands of years from now is unknown. It is prudent however to prepare you and your family for this (or any other type of disaster) of this magnitude. Here’s hoping Yellowstone’s Super Volcano will continue her slumber for years to come.