The Americans again in a panic — scientists recently reported that a giant volcano, located under the famous Yellowstone Park may soon wake up. And if that happens, most of North America will become a desert. However, so consider only volcanologists. But seismologists believe that the conclusion of the hasty and not objective.
American scientists seem once again naprorochili end of the world. Well maybe not only light, but only a part thereof, briefly referred to as the U.S.. According to calculations by volcanologists, a giant ancient volcano, on the ruins of which is now Yellowstone National Park, once again begins to show signs of activity. This is evidenced by the fact that, according to meter readings rate of uplift of soil in the vicinity of the ancient fire-breathing monster in the last three years has tripled.
However, some seismologists are suspicious of surveys and colleagues rush to reassure frightened by the local population. According to them, the fear of a new eruption is not necessary, because the seismic activity, by contrast, fell. So, what is called, has found his match — until the volcano keeps mum and two representatives of related scientific disciplines are ready shlestnutsya with each other. Who is ultimately right — monitors volcanoes or earthquakes predictors?
Actually the precision of predictions of both, rather doubtful. The fact that the study of the underlying processes in the interior of the Earth's crust and mantle, on which the "sleep" or "wake-up" Volcanoes are still conducted exclusively by seismic measurements. Sensitive devices detect each slightest hesitation, then scientists are beginning to wrestle with the question: what does it mean? In the end, the same result of the seismograph can be interpreted in very different ways.
In addition, such a thing as a prediction of a geological event, most often done on the basis of building a computer model of the processes. Well, the accuracy of such models — you know what, because even the most powerful computers are able to analyze the impact on two or three factors, but in fact there are dozens, if not hundreds. In this analysis no computer can handle it.
Nevertheless, let's look at the picture painted by volcanologists. Long-term measurements show that the rate of uplift giant volcanic caldera (trough formed at the site destroyed by a volcanic eruption) in Yellowstone National Park since mid-2004 began to increase sharply. These findings were published in the latest issue of the journal Science, and immediately caused panic among non-specialists.
By the way, the data collection was very thorough. In their studies, researchers used data from Utah global satellite navigation system GPS, as well as radar measurements from the board of one of Europe's satellite mapping. According to them, the rate of uplift of soil has now reached seven centimeters a year, more than three times the average.
In addition, computer modeling disturbance source allows scientists to suggest a gradual expansion of the base in the underground supervolcano, is now about 1,200 square kilometers. Interestingly, this bottom section, located at a depth of ten kilometers, equal to magmennoy cavity (void in the rock filled with hot magma) in the earth's crust, discovered by seismic measurements. According to the calculations of American experts, the volume of hot material at the base increased at a rate of about 0.1 cubic kilometers per year. This is consistent with a count of the number of magma required to recharge the troubled area of seismic warmth.
On this basis, the researchers believe that the main driving force for raising the earth's crust in this place is natural circulation of hot and cold layers of lava. However, one can not exclude the possibility of increasing the power flow of hot magma, volcanic zone of the feed. Similar phenomena have often said that in the near future volcano can awaken.
Volcanologists joke that at this point follow the Yellowstone — like being in a cage with a sleeping tiger, every new movement which makes tremble. However, in this case, they guess at the reasons for these strange natural phenomena. In their view, the rapid rise of the Earth's crust caused by the changes that have occurred in the deep structure, the so-called hot spot — fixed portion mantle (the layer that lies beneath the earth's crust), in which the rising hot magma. And it is also often the case before awakening the fire-breathing monster.
It should be noted that the volcano has attracted the attention of scientists for a long time. Detailed studies of Yellowstone Park, famous above all for its geysers, began in the mid-twentieth century. Even then, scientists have come to the conclusion that his giant caldera (70 to 30 kilometers) is clearly of volcanic origin. Of course, the mind refused to believe in the existence of volcanoes such size needed so many years of research and theoretical development before it was developed a giant model of the Yellowstone.
In the course of these was known that the last three eruptions occurred this giant two million years ago, 1.3 million years ago and 630,000 years ago. Thus, the conclusion is that they are more or less seasonal, and this period of about 650,000 years. This means that before the next eruption left quite a bit of time (say, the geological clock) — only some … 20,000 years.
And geologists have determined that the recent eruption of the Yellowstone supervolcano passed quite rapidly. The explosion unleashed 250 cubic kilometers of dust, rocks and ash that covered most of the western slope of the mountain in a layer thickness of 20 meters, and left a crater, which nowadays is a huge Yellowstone Lake. The total area of this geological tumors exceeded 2,400 square kilometers.
Not surprisingly, the predictions about what will happen to the U.S. as a result of a new eruption, very disappointing. Scientists say that the events will unfold as the explosion of a huge nuclear bomb. Within a few minutes instead of the park formed a huge crater and die hundreds of thousands of people, many suffocated by clouds of poisonous gases that will fly to the surface with lava. In the atmosphere would break a few thousand cubic miles of ash and ash that for a couple of hours cover the entire western United States. In addition, half meter layer of crushed pumice hide under a street in Los Angeles and San Francisco. As a result, all traffic stops, the country would be cut off from the outside world.
However, experts believe that most people would be fatal to the atmospheric emission of fine particles. Weights ash block passage of sunlight. This threatens the so-called volcanic winter — climate change, for which the average temperature at the Earth's surface shall not exceed -25 ° C. And although this winter will last for a maximum of one and a half years, according to environmentalists, it can lead to a dramatic reduction in the number of plants (which can not photosynthesize) and, consequently, death from starvation feeding their animals and people.
However, this scenario is actually too is nothing like a model. In fact, humanity has never watched such a disaster, so to say exactly what will happen, no one can. Similarly, it is not clear when should we wait for the awakening of the volcano. Mathematics on the basis of new data with the help of computers found that the eruption should be expected in 2075. But after a while it became clear that things are moving much faster. The result had to be adjusted, and a terrible date approached. It turns out that the volcano wakes up in the gap between the 2012 and 2016 year, the first digit, according to analysts, it looks more likely.
Nevertheless, many seismologists believe that all these conclusions are subjective and hasty. Some even say that all this is an example of unscrupulous research has specifically aim to sow panic among the people, in order to knock out of the budget in new grants "disaster prevention" (according to the scenario of the notorious "2000 Problem"). According to them, at the moment there is no eruption for seismic preconditions. In fact, the number of aftershocks in the valley was cut in half: Scientists have recorded at least a thousand tremors over the last year, but usually there are more than two thousand.
According to David Hill of the U.S. Geological Survey, is in itself an accelerated swelling of land is not a reason for concern. He cites the example of the situation with the other sleeping giant volcano whose activity at the time formed the California Valley Long Valley. Observations of them have been conducted for many years, as well as for his fellow Yellowstone. For the six months of 1997, the soil in the area of the crater up to ten centimeters, which was accompanied by a mass of earthquakes, but then the situation has stabilized, and so far the volcano behaves calmly.
So, who is right — seismologists or volcanologists? Unfortunately, the exact answer to this question can only give a time. However, the "warring parties" agree on one thing — the study of Yellowstone supervolcano should continue. Because they can help to understand the processes that control the highly active seismic zones on the surface of the Earth.