Sunday, August 09, 2009

Fun Brewing in the Cascades?

I am old enough to remember when Mount St. Helens blew out in Washington State back in 1980. It was spectacular.

I've always been interested in volcanoes, but they were always things that blew in Hawaii or elsewhere. The volcanoes in the lower 48 had largely been silent prior to 1980, with the exception of Lassen Peak in California. That volcano had a series of eruptions beginning in 1914.

The other day, I was reading an account about some recent small earthquakes around Mt. Rainier in Washington State. The volcanologists don't seem too alarmed about it, but it started me thinking. If Rainier blows, it could be cataclysmic in terms of the effect on major cities in Washington. As with all the Cascade volcanoes, it's not a matter of if, but when, they will erupt.

Imagine all of them from Washington to California blowing their stacks at once, and then the Yellowstone Caldera in the Rockies deciding to have a belch. Would that be seen as divine judgment or would it be seen as a natural event?

Of course, such an event is unlikely to happen. But it could. Anything's possible. We're all just a natural disaster away from eternity.

That ought to be food for thought.

1 comment:

lee n. field said...

And I was immediately reminded of the line from Men in Black:

"There's always an Arquillian Battle Cruiser, or a Corillian Death Ray, or an intergalactic plague that is about to wipe out all life on this miserable little planet, and the only way these people can get on with their happy lives is that they Do... Not... Know about it! "

I know, I know. Strikes the wrong tone. There are lots of things that can happen to a planet. Have happened you would say if you're an old earther looking at geological remains. So, how about this quote instead:

"“I will never again curse the ground because of man, for the intention of man's heart is evil from his youth. Neither will I ever again strike down every living creature as I have done. While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease.”

Which is why I'm not worried about "extinction level events".

(Blogger would be better if it allowed full html. Can't even use the underline tag.)