The New York Times certainly created a stir this week with their article titled, “A Surprise From the Supervolcano Under Yellowstone.”
It immediately began showing up in Facebook feeds and became this week’s viral buzz of the interwebs.
The only thing missing was a memes of Pierce Brosnan and Linda Hamilton promoting the 20th-anniversary edition of “Dante’s Peak.”
The first two paragraphs of the original article had enough terrifying statistics to send volcanologist Dr. Harry Dalton and Mayor Rachel Wando (Brosnan and Hamilton) to shout from the mountaintops and warn everyone of the impending doom.
The October 10 article originally stated that the “behemoth had the ability to expel 25,000 times more material than erupted from Mount St. Helens.”
On October 11, the New York Times issued a correction that it had made a miscalculation and the amount of expellable material was actually 2500 times more than Mount St. Helens and not 25,000.
Granted, 2500 times more material than Mount St. Helens is an insane amount, but increasing the figure by 1000% would be enough to make Mayor Wando call for an immediate evacuation of her townsfolk.
The Times also incorrectly reported that the supervolcano affecting Yellowstone was located under Yosemite. (Wait…?!)
This may be a minor detail. Dr. Dalton, however, demands accurate details.
After the shock value of the first two paragraphs of the article, there was some great research and information shared.
Arizona State graduate student Hannah Shamloo proposed that if there were to be an eruption, the signs could develop over a shorter time frame rather than that of a previously-thought longer time.
Her main idea was not that Yellowstone would erupt sooner, but that it could take a shorter time to develop the conditions for an eruption. That being whether an eruption happened next month or in 5 Million years.
Correction: Dr. Dalton said to replace 5 Million years with 50 Thousand years.
Yellowstone’s beauty is unsurpassed on the planet and should be experienced by everyone at least once in their lives. Rest assured, it is the most monitored volcano on the planet.
Once you visit this park you will see how unpredictable and ever-changing this world heritage site is.
Excelsior Geyser, located just below the Grand Prismatic Spring, is a great example of this always changing environment. It was an active geyser for decades in the late 1800’s to the very early part of the new century. It erupted frequently then inexplicably stopped.
Some thought that the huge eruptions, sometimes around 300 feet high, may have permanently damaged the internal plumbing.
However, 85 years later it started erupting again for more than two days straight on the hour.
The geyser never returned to its 300 foot glory days, but it did shoot a stream about 100 feet into the air. It then stopped again and has been only periodically bubbling ever since.
2017 is a milestone anniversary for the 1997 “Dante’s Peak.”
Like Yellowstone, “Dante’s Peak” should be seen by everyone once. But in the case of the movie, you well know that once is enough!
Instead of rewatching the legendary film, spend those two hours planning your next trip to Yellowstone because it truly is never the same twice.
The following are the two versions of postcards from the original photos of Excelsior Geyser taken in 1890.