No, Recent Thermal Activity Doesn’t Mean the Big One is About to Hit
I was greeted with a familiar scene the other day. As I was walking in to Sierra Trading post a friend of my mine was leaving with a sleeping bag, three pairs of Tevas and a portable camping stove.
I turned around and followed her to car which was full of more supplies.
“What’s going on, Kirsten?” I asked. Like the old show Dragnet, her name was changed to protect the innocent, even though she is not very innocent. She is also prone to overreactions.
“Just preparing for when the Big One blows its top,” she responded, packing her latest purchase in with an eight-pack of toilet paper and a six pack of Buffalo Bill Beer. “Didn’t you catch the latest press release from the National Park Service?”
Actually, I had seen the release. It described new thermal activity in the Upper Geyser Basin in Yellowstone National Park. Near Old Faithful geyser is an area called Geyser Hill which people can easily climb to gain a nice view of the area. New vents were erupting and splashing water on the boardwalks while surface fractures were appearing. Parts of the area were closed off to prevent people from getting too close.
“Did you know that Ear Spring even erupted?” asked Kirsten.
“That’s what I heard,” I replied, my lame joke going unnoticed. “But stuff like this happens all the time in the park, and NPS said volcanic activity was not imminent.”
“It’s all volcanic activity in the park,” she said. “Every hot spring, fumarole, steam vent, geyser and bubbling mud pot.”
She had a point. I’ve heard many arguments saying that while the official number of thermal features is more than 10,000, others say it is just one volcano with a bunch of exit points.
It’s unusual to see steam holes appear in parking lots and water start bubbling in previously dormant steps on the Minerva Terraces. Something has been happening as evidenced by the number of times Steamboat Geyser has erupted this year.
Nevertheless, nothing indicates that the volcano is going to erupt anytime soon, and I told Kirsten so.
“Believe what you want,” she said, as she arranged a box of MREs (meals ready to eat) and some bottled water. “I will think of you, Corrie, but I will not share my dehydrated stroganoff or freeze-dried eggs with you.”
I was okay with that and wished her the best of luck. As I turned to leave, I saw the latest Dan Miller CD in her back seat.
“What’s up with that?” I asked. “Making sure you have the proper tunes for the apocalypse?”
“Oh that,” she said. “Just mood music. Before I hunker down I have a date Saturday night.”
Until next week, I am lovin’ life – and not preparing for a volcano – in Cody, Wyo.