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New Pressures Building Beneath California Caldera
As the onslaught of solar flares, CMEs and coronal holes continue to beat the Earth, raising seismic and volcanic activity in Yellowstone and around the world to record heights, they us send a very graphic reminder that Yellowstone is not the only geologically active area, especially in the United States. In California, six volcanoes/calderas are either active or potentially active. One of these calderas, the Long Valley Caldera, located in the eastern part of California, is not as large as Yellowstone but is just as deadly and is showing signs of an impending eruption. If continued solar activity continues at its record breaking pace our planet might receive a one-two knockout punch between Yellowstone and Long Valley. If this occurs, our planet will experience catastrophic earthchanges that could change the face of our planet for all time.
Recent Solar Activity
Record-breaking solar activity recently has been at an all time high. In fact, on November 4, 2003 the Sun unleashed a solar flare of monumental proportions that astronomers created a new "X" class to record the increased and extraordinary solar activity.
BBC News Online, 5-November-2003
The Sun has unleashed its largest recorded solar flare, capping 10 days of unprecedented activity for the star.
The blast sent billions of tonnes of superhot gas into space - some of it directed towards our planet.
Scientists say the Sun's current spate of activity has produced the most dramatic events seen on the solar surface since regular monitoring began.
Space weather forecasters have been kept busy tracking the impact of geomagnetic storms on the Earth.
This kind of solar activity is worrisome since seismic and volcanic activity is already at an all-time high creating observable and increased changes to our planet.
Seismic and volcanic activities continue to escalate within our Earth as our sun continues to pound us with numerous solar flares, coronal mass ejections (CME), and charged particles of coronal holes. Given the current record-breaking solar activity, are Yellowstone's "safety valves" resilient enough to withstand this solar pounding while continuing to function properly? The reason for this new concern is that Yellowstone's geysers ("safety valves") appear to be working overtime to vent excess pressure, as evidenced by the recent behavior of the Steamboat Geyser. Steamboat is the largest geyser in the world! Unlike the anticipated eruptions of the 1980s, the most recent eruption was a surprise to geologists. To paraphrase the parlance of test pilots, is recent solar activity now "pushing the edge of the Yellowstone envelope?"
As you read this, know that massive forces tens of miles beneath your feet are building towards what could be another catastrophic series of volcanic eruptions if present trends in the monitoring data remain. The consequence of a complacent attitude towards living within the destructive reach of an active volcano such as Mount Rainier outside of Seattle, Washington may soon come to haunt the millions of Americans living within a day's drive of the Ring of Fire. Up until now, the excuse has been that we simply cannot predict when these events will happen. Yet, the technology to accurately predict such events days, months and even years in advance exists today even as we wait in the dark for another mysterious act of God. And why? The answer lies more with how science is funded than anything else.
For Californians, the concern of catastrophic earthquakes is more on their minds than an impending volcanic eruption. However, the fact of the matter is that California has three active and two inactive volcanoes, and a caldera smaller than Yellowstone, but just as deadly, has been a threat in the past and is becoming an increasing threat now. This caldera, called the Long Valley Caldera, is located in the eastern part of California.
Volcanic Activity in California?
The USGS considers a volcano active if it has been active within the past 2000 years. A volcano that has not erupted in more that 2000 years is potentially active. In California, the three active volcanoes are Mount Shasta, Medicine Lake and Lassen Peak. The two potentially active volcanoes are Coso and Clear Lake.
Topinka, USGS/CVO, 1999
Nevertheless, what about Long Valley? According to the USGS, Long Valley is also an active volcano and continues to be very active. So much so that monitoring and research activity at Long Valley appears to be just as focused and detailed as Yellowstone.
USGS, Long Valley Observatory, 13-November-2003
The concentration of carbon dioxide in soil gas at Mammoth Mountain is currently being monitored on a continuous, year-round basis at four sites - three at Horseshoe Lake and one near the base of Chair 19 at the ski area. Evaluations of anomalous changes in concentration are made by researchers at the USGS Cascades Volcano Observatory (McGee and others, 1998).
Carbon dioxide flux (the rate at which CO2 gas comes out of the ground) is monitored periodically at each tree kill area.