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Thread: Yellowstone Caldera Activity

  1. #241
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    Seismicly Yellowstone has been very quiet since it's moved into the Subsidence phase. Only averaging around 30 minor quakes a month for the past half year or more. This is a lot lower then it's average of about 78-140 per month during the uplift phase.

    Don't really know if that's a trend of it's subsidence phase or not, but it very well might be.

  2. #242
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    Is that good or bad?
    Et tu BAUT? Quantum mutatus ab illo.

  3. #243
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    I dare not suggest that quiet phase is upon you.. It looks like that.,

    but from here in New Zealand we have a history of such that to make prediction of anything

    might be a invitation for it all to go pear shaped...to go dam busters off the wall 'Ka Boom' !

    I would study the GPS tracking of movement and uplift before I go out fishing... and keep the tank full.

    The best tool in the box is information and knowledge to interpret it...

    As a New Zealander we are a little anxious.. this paranoia could be useful.

  4. #244
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ara Pacis View Post
    Is that good or bad?
    Keeping in mind that I'm a amateur volcanologist here.

    I suspect this is part of it's normal cycle, Yellowstone has regular cycles of Uplift then subsidence. During the SUbsidence phase it likely will tend to be quieter, until it gets close to the point of uplift again. Somewhere close to that point the activity will increase again, possibly with a few swarms of quakes that signal the change of direction.

    No this doesn't appear to be the quiet before the storm as Atromark seems to be woorying about.

    There is less activity during subsidence because the stresses that built during the Uplift phase, are slowly being reversed during subsidence.

  5. #245
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    Hello,
    I haven't made an intro thread yet, but this was the thread Bing linked me to, thus my current interest.

    I am not a geophysicist, but an astrophysicist and generally work as an independent contractor or at my home lab. Nowadays much is online or writing code. Some of that code writing and other number crunching has allowed me to predict to some reasonable accuracy the last 4 solar flares. Once I get top know this forum a bit I'll post a therad or to this one what I've been speculating about Yellowstone.

    For now, the skinny is that it may have been errupting for the last 500 years, since the end of the "little ice age" and like any ground sshifting during freezing and thaw, this may have been the first fractures in the basin since the last erruption thought to have been 70,000 years ago. This is not to say the process is slow, but that it may escalate if another deep freeze or local "ice age" hits Wyoming. Should any more fractures occur, it could escalate to a runaway effect. I doubt if the basin would completely break up at one time, rather it would fracture and progressively sprout new geysers and bubblers, progressively creating new lakes and water tributories to the eastern states. How fast is difficult to say at this point. It may be possible to model such expansions and fracturing at a later time.

    Hectro

  6. #246
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    Hector,

    Welcome to BAUT.

    If your ideas and specualtions are in the nature of something not in the mainstream yet, you'll probably want to post a new thread in Against the Mainstream forum area (and be prepare to defend your specualtions or theories there). BAUT is arranged into very logical forum categories. This forum is for exsiting and mainstream sceince and questions.

    Most of the exsiting volcano and plate tectonic topics here are started are for reporting events, news, or science on them, while what you have may be something past new science so it probably deserves it's own topic.

    Before you post your speculative information and research though, even if you don't use the ATM forum, you may want to read the rules for it and look at some of the threads there to see how the process works. It will give you some idea of what sort of questions people might be asking you, and what sorts of proffs people might demand.

    Again welcome to BAUT!

  7. #247
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    Quote Originally Posted by dgavin View Post
    Hector,

    Welcome to BAUT.

    If your ideas and specualtions are in the nature of something not in the mainstream yet, you'll probably want to post a new thread in Against the Mainstream forum area (and be prepare to defend your specualtions or theories there). BAUT is arranged into very logical forum categories. This forum is for exsiting and mainstream sceince and questions.

    Most of the exsiting volcano and plate tectonic topics here are started are for reporting events, news, or science on them, while what you have may be something past new science so it probably deserves it's own topic.

    Before you post your speculative information and research though, even if you don't use the ATM forum, you may want to read the rules for it and look at some of the threads there to see how the process works. It will give you some idea of what sort of questions people might be asking you, and what sorts of proffs people might demand.Again welcome to BAUT!
    No problem. Will do and thanks for the tip.

    Pardon my being an old due, thus a bit naive to some new terms, but what are proffs?

  8. #248
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hector View Post
    Pardon my being an old due, thus a bit naive to some new terms, but what are proffs?
    I can't speak for dgavin, but I'm pretty sure it is a misspelling of "proofs"
    At night the stars put on a show for free (Carole King)

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  9. #249
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    Yes meant Proofs, thanks. Dang Dyslexia strikes on some of the oddest words.

  10. #250
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    I suppose if we removed massive amounts of geothermal energy from Yellowstone National park that would prolong the subsidence phase. Would continious extraction of one gigawatt from a depth of about one kilometer be significant or negligible. Will the subsidence phase likely last a decade or a century. An exra gigawatt or two would be a significant asset to our national electric grid. I think we should build several types of pilot plants as soon as possible and continue analysis in parallel. Sometimes further analysis looks suspiciously like stalling. I've heard the wells near Sacramento or Stockton, California are delivering declining amounts of geo energy. Neil

  11. #251
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    Neil, i'll try to adress those points one by one here.

    I suppose if we removed massive amounts of geothermal energy from Yellowstone National park that would prolong the subsidence phase.

    I would say doubtfull, the yellowstone uplift/subsidence is driven by cyclic injection and draining of magma in Yellowstone Magama chamber from the hotspot. If anything extreame cooling of the magma chamber from geothermal extraction, would lead to it becoming more solid (ignoring the fact here you'd have to inject a flow on the order of 200000cfs or more to actually cause the magma itself to start cooling at yellowstone). During the next uplift phase it would be unable to hold as much preasure, likely making an eruption of some kind more probable (but not certain)

    I think we should build several types of pilot plants as soon as possible and continue analysis in parallel.

    Yellowstone right now if off limits for Geothermal plants, it's a national park, and there was a lot of public outcry when test wells were dug in the 60's through 80's, mainly as no one knows what harvesting the heat there will do to the geyser systems that it's famous for. The national park service made a decision thats it's better to not experiment at one of the nations unique treasures. While I'm not very eco-consouncious, I actually agree with that decision.

    That being said, the wells -are- being built at the other end of the Hotspot, at Newberry Caldeara in Oregon.

    I've heard the wells near Sacramento or Stockton, California are delivering declining amounts of geo energy.

    That makes sense. Most geothermal wells only go down far enough to tap the heat thats migrated into the crust from the magma pools. The wells actually do not get anywhere near the magma chamber itself. If the geothermal wells are removing the heat from an area faster then it builds up, then yes, this would be exatly what would happen.

    This is one reson why Newberry was picked as the next location, as it's magma chamber is closer to the surface then most volcano's, and the heat can be harvested closer to it's source. The other reason is it's proximity to a population center (Bend, OR) that could support a very large geothermal operation if it proves viable, and Bends existing status as a major hub for long distance hydro-electic transmission. They would not have to build much infrastructure to get power from Newberry into the current power system there. Yellowstone doesn't have a power hub infrastruture that close to it.

  12. #252
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    Quote Originally Posted by dgavin View Post
    I've heard the wells near Sacramento or Stockton, California are delivering declining amounts of geo energy.

    That makes sense. Most geothermal wells only go down far enough to tap the heat thats migrated into the crust from the magma pools. The wells actually do not get anywhere near the magma chamber itself. If the geothermal wells are removing the heat from an area faster then it builds up, then yes, this would be exatly what would happen.
    Also seems to be happening in Nevada:
    Through modifications at the Blue Mountain site in Nevada drilling new wells to produce more steam the company has been able to get the net power output up to a steady 35 megawatts. But, as the annual report released last week reiterated, that was still not enough production to cover the companys loans and operating costs.

    And that is just the beginning of the troubles. Early last year, it was forced to shut down for more than a month, after a faulty layout of underground cables caused a short circuit, a company statement said. Tests by the company also show that because of mistakes made in how the wells were set up, the water temperature is dropping, potentially meaning a drop in future power production.
    As you say, getting closer to the heat source, as at Newberry might minimize this problem, but it'll also limit the number of economically viable geothermal sites.

  13. #253
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    Quote Originally Posted by dgavin View Post
    Yes meant Proofs, thanks. Dang Dyslexia strikes on some of the oddest words.
    I don't see this decline as a good sign. We will need to wait and see what happens this year and next winter. If the geothermal energhy continues to decline, it would be in line with the possibility of that area spawning its own little ice age again. It would make sense to place thermal energy plants in areas that are opn an energy incline.

  14. #254
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    This months update form USGS mentions the subsidenceis continuing at pretty much a historical normal rate. The rate of earthquakes is still about half that of normal background activity. Nothing really new however.

  15. #255
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    Yellowstone still quietly in subsidence phase, with earthquake activity now classified as being below background levels.

    Some interesting statistics from GPS, courtesy of UnaVco, Yellowstone GPS stations link . From 2005 to 2010, during uplift phase, stations moved up-wards 22.5cm (10 inches), total subsidence since 2010, is around 5cm (2 inches).
    Last edited by dgavin; 2012-Jun-04 at 07:25 PM. Reason: added missign word 'below'

  16. #256
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    Well after the Yellowstone being quiet for good while, there was a small swarm of minor quakes late sunday night, just 17km west/sw of Old Faithful.

    3.0 19km WSW of Old Faithful Geyser, Wyoming 2012-10-15 04:02:15 44.389N 111.053W 6.2
    2.7 19km WSW of Old Faithful Geyser, Wyoming 2012-10-15 03:45:20 44.395N 111.049W 8.0
    2.0 19km WSW of Old Faithful Geyser, Wyoming 2012-10-15 03:40:01 44.399N 111.054W 11.4
    1.5 20km WSW of Old Faithful Geyser, Wyoming 2012-10-15 03:37:09 44.406N 111.075W 6.0
    1.5 16km WSW of Old Faithful Geyser, Wyoming 2012-10-15 03:36:09 44.386N 111.014W 6.0
    1.8 18km WSW of Old Faithful Geyser, Wyoming 2012-10-15 03:34:46 44.394N 111.035W 6.0
    1.6 17km WSW of Old Faithful Geyser, Wyoming 2012-10-15 03:33:34 44.385N 111.021W 15.7
    1.2 19km WSW of Old Faithful Geyser, Wyoming 2012-10-15 03:30:23 44.391N 111.052W 6.0
    1.8 17km WSW of Old Faithful Geyser, Wyoming 2012-10-15 03:27:45 44.399N 111.037W 11.9
    1.6 20km WSW of Old Faithful Geyser, Wyoming 2012-10-15 03:25:43 44.413N 111.071W 5.5
    2.5 20km WSW of Old Faithful Geyser, Wyoming 2012-10-15 03:22:33 44.396N 111.072W 15.6
    2.8 21km WSW of Old Faithful Geyser, Wyoming 2012-10-15 03:20:44 44.386N 111.050W 7.1
    2.6 22km WSW of Old Faithful Geyser, Wyoming 2012-10-15 03:06:13 44.376N 111.087W 1.1
    1.9 19km WSW of Old Faithful Geyser, Wyoming 2012-10-15 02:58:16 44.394N 111.052W 15.9
    2.2 18km WSW of Old Faithful Geyser, Wyoming 2012-10-15 02:56:34 44.399N 111.045W 15.8
    3.1 19km WSW of Old Faithful Geyser, Wyoming 2012-10-15 02:54:52 44.394N 111.044W 12.4
    2.6 17km WSW of Old Faithful Geyser, Wyoming 2012-10-15 02:52:58 44.377N 111.009W 11.7
    2.4 17km WSW of Old Faithful Geyser, Wyoming 2012-10-15 02:52:16 44.393N 111.029W 12.6
    2.0 18km WSW of Old Faithful Geyser, Wyoming 2012-10-15 02:51:45 44.406N 111.054W 10.3
    2.0 17km WSW of Old Faithful Geyser, Wyoming 2012-10-15 02:47:20 44.396N 111.024W 9.7
    2.1 18km WSW of Old Faithful Geyser, Wyoming 2012-10-15 02:44:35 44.389N 111.036W 14.3
    1.7 17km WSW of Old Faithful Geyser, Wyoming 2012-10-15 02:41:38 44.378N 111.019W 12.6
    1.5 17km WSW of Old Faithful Geyser, Wyoming 2012-10-15 02:37:57 44.384N 111.026W 16.8

  17. #257
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    46 total quakes in the mini-swarm on the 15th. So one of the first swarms at Yellowstone since it began it's subsidence phase. It's been quiet since, so looks like that little swarm is over.

  18. #258
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    Another set of swarms, three of them, in december, with a quake count of 101 for the month. Looks like Yellowstone has gone back to it's 70-120 quake a month average. This is not a likely signal that it;s starting to transition from subsidence to uplift again.

  19. #259
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    130 quakes in this last month. With two sets of swarms. If I am reading the GPS plots correctly, it does appear the subsidence rate is slowing down coinciding with the increse in quake activity over the last two months.

    More evidence that quake swarms and uplift/subsidence might be linked in volcanic regions. It will still take decades of research for this seeming trend to become mainstream (or not) though.

  20. #260
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    I kind of wonder about what's going on in the Clear Lake volcanic region in California. They've been having 20-30 small quakes per day in a very limited area there. The national site says nothing out of the ordinary. I have no idea, really, what's typical for a swarm there. Interestingly, some of the larger quakes have been right below what looks from google earth to be a geothermal power plant, so it could just be water or steam moving about. Dgavin, I know you're interested in Yellowstone, do you know any resources for Clear Lake?

  21. #261
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    JJ, Here are some starting URL's for you.

    http://volcanoes.usgs.gov/volcanoes/clear_lake/

    363 quakes in the last 6 Days. http://volcanoes.usgs.gov/volcanoes/...toring_14.html (warnign: may produce long running script errors-slow loading)

    and from the USGS CalVO updates, there is this:

    Clear Lake Volcanic Field: A short-lived swarm of low-magnitude earthquakes was detected under the south flank of Mt Konocti on Jan 8-9. The largest event was M=2.8. [Note: Typical high level of seismicity was observed under the Geysers steam field located at the western margin of CLVF. The largest event was a magnitude M=3.0].

    So it looks like while there is a lot of activity, it's considered, background level activity for the region.

  22. #262
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    Quote Originally Posted by dgavin View Post
    So it looks like while there is a lot of activity, it's considered, background level activity for the region.
    Excellent, boring is boring is boring.

  23. #263
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    Subsidence Phase at Yellowstone might be just starting to come and end.

    Month before last there was around the normal 170 minor quakes at yellowstone (up form the half normal of 30-80 a month after the subsidence was fully underway). Last month there was 244 quakes, which is about twice the normal.

    After looking at some of the GPS stations it does appear that they are just barley starting to level off, with a slight slow down of the subsidence indicated.

    Best guess puts a 1000+ earthquake swarm at about 1 to 2 years out at most, with that large swarm once again the signal of the change in direction for Yellowstone's Subsidence/Uplift phase, back into uplift.
    Last edited by dgavin; 2013-Dec-03 at 08:03 PM.

  24. #264
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    While subsidence in the central caldera is still occuring, USGS reports indicate that the Noris Gyser Basin is uplifting again, which had started in late summer. If this follows the last pattern; Noris basin will uplift for a number of years, as it stops uplifting, the central caldera will start to uplift, then a few years later they will both go into subsidence again.

    The uplift in the Noris Basin area seems to coicide with the increase of earthquakes from below background levels early summer, to just a little over normal levels by the start of winter.

  25. #265
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    The next major destructive geological event in the Yellowstone basin will probably be during the last week of May and the first week of June of this year.

    (you'll never guess who is visiting Yellowstone during that period of time)
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  26. #266
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    Just tell Stanley Williams (of Galeras fame) to stay at home that same week--or else its a Syzygy
    That or I could come up there and yell "Vancouver Vancouver this is it" and jump up and down real hard.

    But if anyone asks you if I was doing a cannonball with Orson Wells in Lituya Bay I'll deny it.
    Last edited by publiusr; 2014-Feb-21 at 10:46 PM.

  27. #267
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swift View Post
    The next major destructive geological event in the Yellowstone basin will probably be during the last week of May and the first week of June of this year.

    (you'll never guess who is visiting Yellowstone during that period of time)
    Well, I should be on a dig in Spain then, so I might live.

  28. #268
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    Ahhh another Volcation! Hope you have a great visit Swift.

  29. #269
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swift View Post
    The next major destructive geological event in the Yellowstone basin will probably be during the last week of May and the first week of June of this year.

    (you'll never guess who is visiting Yellowstone during that period of time)
    That's one of the worst times to visit -- first of the summer, kids just out of school, lots of people, but some areas still obstructed by snow. And I'm envious anyway. Have a great trip and post pictures!
    Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscript catapultas habebunt.

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    There will be a quiz on your return.

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