Thursday, August 12, 2010

Back from vacation, with volcanoes

No, Swerve and Vanish did not vanish. We were on vacation. For the last few days we were at Mt. Lassen National Park, which is extremely beautiful and not crowded and full of fascinating, bizarre, somewhat creepy vistas. Also wildflowers, lots of them this year--probably due to global warming, but that is an old worry.

Because vacation is a time of reflection and renewal, I have discovered something new to worry about. Volcanoes. As it happens, Lassen is still technically an active volcano, and the park is riddled with evidence of past and present vulcanism.* However, Lassen is quite a small potato on the world's volcanic buffet table.

We have been watching How the Earth Was Made, a surprisingly informative documentary series about geology from the History Channel. Well, given that it is the History Channel, they feel obligated to scare the hell out of you at least once an episode, including a description of a gruesome demise that could be yours if you play your cards wrong. So what volcano should you be worrying about? How about Yellowstone? But there's no volcano in Yellowstone, you may say. That's because the whole thing is a volcano, or as they say on the HC, a "supervolcano." Which apparently erupts every 640,000 years. The last eruption was, oh, about 640,000 years ago. And they--i.e. geologists, who all seemed remarkably chipper, considering--are picking up increased signs of an approaching eruption, like rising land and earthquakes. If that thing goes, man, it is not going to be good.

Also Krakatoa has a son, which is ready to blow.

*That word is a keeper, isn't it?

No comments: