The Yellowstone Area Continues to Rumble
By Todd Strandberg
The greatest natural disaster threat to America is the Yellowstone caldera. We could be hit be 1000 category 5 hurricanes and still be nowhere near the danger of this super volcano in Northwest Wyoming. It only explodes once in a distant blue moon but when it does, the volume of ash is stunning. During its last eruption 100 cubic miles of ash were deposited over half of the continental U.S.
A Yellowstone eruption would simply mean the end of the United States as we know it. The population of several states would drop to zero. The breadbasket of the Midwest would be decimated. The eruption event could go on for over many decades.
The federal government has been eternally optimistic about the Yellowstone earthquakes. When they began in June of this year the U.S. Geological Survey said they would only last a few days.
Yellowstone is now the site of the longest earthquake swarm ever recorded with 2,357 quakes registered since June. There was a swarm in 1985 that recorded 3,000 earthquakes, but it ended after three months. Yellowstone shows no sign of going back to sleep.
The ticking time bomb of Yellowstone became all the more concerning when another swarm of earthquakes began just down the road in Southeast Idaho. The earthquakes began shortly before 6 p.m. on September 2nd. On that day, Soda Springs registered a magnitude 5.3 earthquake. This is the largest event since 1983, when Idaho’s biggest earthquake, a 6.9 temblor rocked for about a minute at the Lost River Fault beneath Borah Peak (Idaho’s tallest mountain).
Since the September 2nd, 10 quakes in the 4 magnitude have occurred. Bannock County Sheriff Lorin Nielsen said he’s been a law enforcement officer in Southeast Idaho for over 40 years, and during that time there’s never previously been so many earthquakes occurring in such a short time frame.
The U.S. Geological Survey says that the Idaho quake is not directly related to the Yellowstone caldera. Since Soda Springs sits in an active volcanic region, it has some connection to the plumbing of the underground magma chamber.
The people who think the government is hiding information from us have all the more reason to wonder when NASA offered a solution to the problem of a Yellowstone eruption; the space agency has hatched a plan to prevent it from happening by drilling into the volcano and pumping in cooling water.
The Department of Energy and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology already assessed what it would take to tap the caldera. An MIT model assumed that we could withdraw 20 gigawatts of power. That’s approximately the power generation of 10 coal-fired Power Plants.
The model calls for 160 injection wells that would need to drill down to around 4 miles underground. Individually, the wells would be spaced about every 0.9 miles along Yellowstone’s boundary and use directional drilling techniques to bore into the magma chamber.
Water would be pumped through the boreholes into the hot rock and then return to the surface at a temperature of more than 600 degrees Fahrenheit. This would then be used to drive turbines and generate electric power.
Nations like Iceland have made use of volcanic steam that comes to the surface of the earth. There is no country that has drilled into a lava chamber to tap its energy. The key reason is that the technology does not exist. The extreme heat would make this type of deep drilling impossible.
Even if we had the right technology, it would take hundreds of years to cool down the Caldera. The magma chamber under Yellowstone is enormous in size, measuring 30 miles by 45 miles and hundreds of miles deep. The volume of water needed to cool such a large magma body would be enormous. We would need to pump the volume of a great lake into the magma system to even make a dent.
I suppose it is unlikely that Yellowstone will blow up and kill us all. If it doesn’t go back to sleep, it seems questionable that the government would ever raise the danger level. The world is in the grip of such a profound state of spiritual blindness that the most reasonable attempt to curtail risk is beyond reach.
“The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God” (2 Corinthians 4:4).