Monday, January 5, 2009

Harmonic Tremors at Yellowstone on 1/3/09

Since the earthquake swarm at Yellowstone started on 12/27, I've been following it with modest amusement. The idea of a super-eruption (VEI8, or even if just 7) of a supervolcano is mind-boggling, thus fascinating -- certainly would make the man-made financial crisis infinitesimally, pathetically trivial.

BBC did a very good drama on supervolcano -- watch all 12 of the two-part series:

It's drama, but fairly correct scientifically except, of course, the part about timing. Although the timing is intentionally ambiguous, it implies it's sometime in the near future of human civilization. This is pure speculation. To quote an old SNL bit: it's possible...but it's unlikely...but it's possible...but it's unlikely...

However, my passing interest peaked when I checked the U of Utah realtime webicorder in the park (

Look at about 14:00 and 17:00. See something?

Yes, familiar nice sine wave patterns. It's called harmonic tremor. It means the magma was on the move. It has two possible outcomes: either stop and disappear, or the shit blows up.

If you check the other stations in the park for the same time segment, you'll see the same harmonic tremor pattern almost all over the park.

We dodged a potentially huge fucking bullet, this time.

BTW, according to USGS, the water output from Yellowstone River has been steadily increasing since 12/27 while it "should" be decreasing based on historical averages:

It's known that there's a dome at the bottom of Yellowstone Lake, where virtually all of the quakes of this swarm have taken place, that's been rising in recent years. It doesn't take a very imaginative mind to link the two.

What'll happen next? From all I can gather, seismo-vulcanologists say it could happen before I finish this sentence or it could be a million years from now. In other words, they're as clueless as Paulson/Bernanke on CDS, or Bush on the joy of intellectual stimulation, or Obama on unrealistic expectations.

Nothing to worry about, though. If it's a global extinction event, then there's no pain -- who's gonna be around to witness and record all the fantastic screaming and scrambling around and unfulfilled love and unfinished blog posts? The topology of the pain space is circular, infinity = 0. Just as globalization of the financial crisis, through Lehman bankruptcy, made crisis management that much easier and less painful.

Future rat archeologists will no doubt puzzle over their findings a great deal. Poor little fuckers.

PS: As the massive molten mass of magma was sloshing around under Yellowstone, I was enjoying GREAT food and decent wine at a newly discovered Hunan restaurant, the discovery of which was as accidental and meaningless as Yellowstone decided not to blow up at just about the same time, in Flushing with a bunch of friends celebrating my birthday. I thought I had a great birthday party going. But little did I know how great it was.

PPS: If you have to know, it's called 湘水山庄, about 100 yards east of Northern Blvd and Main St, on Northern Blvd. The best, most authentic Hunan food I've found on this continent, before it's covered in three feet of volcano ash anyway. It's so authentic they don't even bother with an English menu. Setting and service are quite decent, and the price is CHEAP.


Bo Peng said...

Someone posted an interesting theory: the harmonic tremors were actually caused by the Indonesian big quakes. The timing seems right. He even posted a "harmonic tremor" pattern picked up in TN. If so, then there's really nothing...not so much than "nothing to worry about" as I said in the worry about.

But, on the YMV station in the park, you don't see the same pattern at the time periods. If the Indonesian theory is true, then surely you should see it there, too, no?

Tianca said...

If that was true, also, they would not still be having them, and they are. USGS has pulled seismic files from public view, they aren't even trying to hide that they did!!! People have been watching this closely around the world, and they are frankly wondering what is going on, why there hasn't been evacuation and warnings, when they are quite alarmed. Animals have been freaking out and leaving the park, fish are dead in the lake from escaping gasses and hot water. Trails are closed because of melting shoes on people. How much needs to hit them over the head???

Definitely, something is going on, and they are scared.

Tianca said...

Oh, and I forgot the most obvious ploy of all, the press have been told only things to calm people down. Not the facts. One man was arrested by FEMA for telling the truth!!! Imagine that, being honest got him arrested.


Anonymous said...

Look today, "there back".