Geologist Says Yellowstone
Nothing To Worry About
From Bruce Cornet

This (supervolcano) forecast is old and incorrect. The Yellowstone magma chamber does not compare in size to those of the past, and it is a leaky system, meaning it could never attain the pressures thought to exist just prior to a supervolcanic eruption. Yellowstone has experienced small eruptions from time to time every couple thousand years, but no supervolcanic eruption.
I find it humorous that such predictions did not exist before geologists recognized the existence of supervolcanoes in 2000, and before Yellowstone was recognized as a supervolcanic hotspot. Now information about Yellowstone is circulating on international websites, especially those of the UAE, indicating terrorists might be using fear of an eruption to cause tension and the disruption of lives in the US. My response: Chill out.
Yellowstone Information
From: Sherly Jackscon
To: <>Dr. Bruce Cornet
Sent: Thursday, January 15, 2004 1:02 PM
Subject: I don't know..........
Your two paragraphs on do not in any way dispel the reality of the 200 degree ground temperature. Now does it in anyway refute the facts that a.) the north rim has been closed since June of 2003, b.) the bulge has grown noticably in the last year, nor does it c.) alleviate the facts of the animals leaving, d.) the forest is dying of the severe heat and that e.) Lake Yellowstone is now closed and the fish are dying in the 88 degree heat.f.) the animals are leaving also. They know how dangerous it is.
Suggested reading: Path of the Poles revised and updated by the Charles Hapgood family and estate. His work proved the reality of the devestation by core samples. He spent fifty years of his professional life collecting core samples from every continent and body of water on the planet.
Sheryl Jackson
From <>Bruce Cornet
To: Sheryl Jackson
Sent: Thursday, January 15, 2004 11:47 AM
Subject: Re: I don't know.........
Dear Sheryl,
Why don't you do some legitimate research on the history of Yellowstone eruptions, both small and large. There is a lot of information on the internet, if you search hard enough. You can believe whatever you want. When I read the gloom and doom predictions last year, I was initially alarmed. Then I did research, and found hard scientific evidence that Yellowstone goes through periods of increased activity, small scale eruptions, followed by decreases in activity. The last eruption was 630,000 years ago. The time between it and the previous eruption was about 640,000 years, indicating that a major eruption could occur any time within the next 10,000 years. All evidence points to a relatively small magma chamber - compared to the ones that produced supervolcanic eruptions in the past. The caprock over the current magma chamber is highly fractured, because the last three eruptions occurred in the same place! Supervolcanic pressures cannot develop again for two reasons: Too small a magma chamber, and its roof or caprock leaks pressure too much. That is why Yellowstone has so many fumaroles, mudpots, hotsprings, and geysers. During short duration increases in magma chamber pressure and temperature, the ground above it will heat up, especially from all the gases and hot fluids that escape.
Yellowstone could have a modest eruption (on the scale of Mount St. Helens) in the next
1,000 years as it has had in the recent past (how long do you plan on living?). Local communities would be devastated, but that's a far cry from the irresponsible predictions of a nationally (let alone globally) catastrophic supervolcanic eruption. The evidence used by the BBC documentary on Yellowstone came from eruptions 5-15 million years ago, and they were monsters that had no leaky caprock like that of Yellowstone. How do we know? Because there was only one gigantic eruption in each place, not three in the same place. To apply the BBC data to the current situation at Yellowstone is very misleading. The last two major Yellowstone eruptions were smaller than the one before them, and their calderas are found inside the previous giant caldera! Go look at the maps published by the USGS (see link below). It is because the current magma chamber is growing under the same area of three previous eruptions that the scale of a future eruption will be limited.
The timing between eruptions has been on the decrease, meaning that each new magma chamber will have less time to develop - it will be smaller and less violent than the one before it (see graph at link below). In fact, seismic data used to calculate the current size of the magma chamber (BBC documentary on Yellowstone) indicates that it is 40-50 km long, 20 km wide, and about 10 km thick. Now compare that to the giant supervolcanic caldera (in which the last two eruptions are situated), which (based on the size of the caldera) had a magma chamber 80-90 km in diameter or a little more than twice as large. The Yellowstone volcanic system appears to be transitioning from supervolcanic status to stratovolcanic status, in part because the overlying tectonic plate is no longer moving, and in part because the rocks surrounding the magma chamber are so fractured and ductile. Be thankful.
Yours truly,
Bruce Cornet, Ph.D.
Prof. Geology and Botany
Raritan Valley Community College
Somerville, NJ 08876
27 Tower Hill Ave.
Red Bank, NJ 07701
From: Sheryl Jackson
To: <>Bruce Cornet
Sent: Friday, January 16, 2004 11:54 AM
Subject: Re: I don't know...........
Sir, thank you for your response. You have given me a framework that sounds more reasonable and acceptable. It is not a matter of the BBC, that has prompted me to confront your "chill out" statement. I did research it. It has not happened in this life time. Nor has the ground temperature been taken anywhere else that hot with the exception of an ACTIVE volcano. I have not just pulled what I said out of the air nor is it based on just one brief televison presentation. Indeed, I have not viewed the BBC presentation.
Fish, plants, trees, flora and fauna dying because of the excessive ground temperature are very IMPORTANT facts.
God knows there is nothing that we can do to stop anything MotherNature can bring on, but we don't have to ignore the signs either. There was no ground temperature at Mt. St. Helen's or any of the other volcanoes, Pinatubo, Mexico City, Iceland, that comes close to 200 degrees. Anywhere on the net prior to their eruptions.
I am fully capable of research, young man, I was probably researching when you were a twinkle in your Mama's eye. So don't go there.
Your two paragraphs did not present any scientific information, just your admonition to chill out. You have now given a professional opinion and I appreciate that. I am going to send it to along with mine that started you in the professional direction that you have just presented.
Thank you for your time and consideration and the professional expertise that is reflected in your letter. Sheryl




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