Tuesday, January 18, 2011

"The Supervolcano Survival Plan," by Aimee.


Due largely in part to the surprising popularity of my article "How to Survive an Ice Age" I have decided to extend this series of Apocalypse Survival Guide articles. Tonight's topic? "How to survive a super-volcano eruption."

As you probably already know, Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, USA, is home to a "Volcanic Caldera" (a volcanic depression where previously magma existed, but after being expelled in the last eruption, has now been filled in with the mountain that was above.) The Yellowstone Caldera extends 34x35 miles into parts of Eastern Idaho and the last time it erupted it covered Washington, Oregon, Nevada, California, Idaho and Wyoming with lava and three quarters of the rest of our country in ash.

Is there a legitimate reason to be worried about the Yellowstone Caldera Super-volcano? I've done some research on the subject:  "Here's what we know. Back in 1995 satellite images began to show that the Yellowstone Caldera was rising. This was mostly likely due to a backup of molten rock miles below the surface. The good news is that the majority of the caldera sank again in 1997. However, the north rim continued to rise until 2003, and with it several geysers awoke along with holes emitting gas and steam. Once the rise stopped (in 2003) so did the majority of the strange activity."1

So, the chances are slim in the immediate future, but no one wants to make that call, and then be proven wrong. So the best thing we can do is to consider the eruption scenario, and the devastation that might be caused, and try to plan accordingly:

1. There is a possibility that the ash from the eruption could block out the sun's rays and kill a great deal (or all) plant life on our continent or the world. (If this happens please refer to the "Ice Age Survival Guide.")
 2. Anyone within 100km of the volcano would die from the explosion. 
 3. Three quarters (or more) of the U.S. could be under ash. This is bad because ash (super fine rock and mineral particles) are bad for pretty much everything: breathing, cars, electronics, plants, etc... Ash is abrasive to the eyes and can cement together and shut down your airways. (So add goggles and a gas/dust mask to your packing list, in addition to ziplock baggies for your electronics.)
 4. Migrate towards a part of the country that hasn't been covered in ash. This is fun! You can come here to Florida and chill with me.

The Super-Volcano Survival Guide Packing List:
-Gas/dust mask 
-hiking boots (your car might break down in ash laden areas)
 -compass or GPS
-ziplocks for all electronic gear
-back pack
-first aid kit
-cleaning supplies (for gear/body)
-cash (in case the credit card systems are down nationwide)
-radio with batteries
-flashlight with batteries
-Did I miss anything? Comment below.

1. http://www.secretsofsurvival.com/survival/yellowstone_supervolcano.html