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Yellowstone caldera

  1. Apr 23, 2009 #1
    In order to further clarify the last significant wide spread eruption of Yellowstone caldera, perhaps bore holes out in Kansas, Nebraska etc. would be useful in dating. For example, 1000 ft etc. is associated ~ with how many years? Also directly dating such wide spread significant ash layer. Has an ~600,000 year scale eruption already occurred at ~present site, for significantly less than ~600K yrs cycle? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yellowstone_caldera" [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 23, 2009 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

    In Kansas, rocks dating at ~400 million years at at ground level.
  4. Apr 23, 2009 #3


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    Ah! That explains the local political situation.

    (ducks and runs)

    Back on topic... the big eruption at yellowstone about 640,000 years ago left a layer of ash called the Lava Creek Tuff, covering what looks like about half the continental USA. It will have been eroded away in some locations, so it might not appear in every hole you dig, but I think it's easily found and dated right across much of the USA. I don't have details, though.

    Cheers -- Sylas
  5. Apr 24, 2009 #4


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    While the time between the latest and previous full scale eruptions was roughly 600,000 years, going back further in time, the frequency is usually less often. Some times as much as 2 million years. So, a full scale eruption is not "over due".

    On the other hand, there have been many smaller eruptions at greater frequency. The latest being about 13,000 years ago.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  6. Apr 26, 2009 #5
    There was the largest increase in C14 on record during the Younger Dryas Cooling event (13000 years ago) which coincides with the Yellowstone Caldera eruption.

    http://cio.eldoc.ub.rug.nl/FILES/root/2000/QuatIntRenssen/2000QuatIntRenssen.pdf [Broken]

    Inverse Relationship of Solar Minimums and Volcanic Eruptions
    There is (see papers below) an inverse relationship of sunspot number (solar activity) and volcanic eruptions. During the Maunder and Dalton minimums there are significantly more and larger volcanic eruptions. When the sunspot activity is high there is less volcanic activity. This curious correlation continues throughout the planetary data. It appears the strength of the mechanism (Whatever is causing the increase in volcanic activity) is related to how fast the sun changes from a high number of sunspots to a low number of sunspots.

    As some authors have noted that the increase in volcanic activity correlates with abrupt drops in the planet’s temperatures, in addition to correlating with a deep solar minimum.

    Originally it was proposed and some authors still propose without quantitative analysis that the abrupt long term drop in temperature was caused by the volcanic eruption however a major eruption only cools the planet for a few years.

    These very cold periods are greater than a hundred years so the mechanism that is cooling the planet must be different, however, what is causing the volcanic eruptions could also be causing the planet to abruptly cool.

    “Volcanic eruptions and solar activity” by Richard Stothers



    Bipolar correlation of volcanism with millennial climate change by Ryan Bay, Nathan Bramall, and Buford Price
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
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