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Supervolcano on the Discovery Channel

04/11/2005 9:01 AM

Did anyone watch Supervolcano on the Discovery Channel last night? For those who didn't, it's a "what if" tale about the huge volcano that resides under Yellowstone Park - a caldera approximatey 1,500 square miles. The what if, is "what if it erupted?" I was curious about this because I recently read an article about the Yellowstone supervolcano in either National Geographic Adventure or Backpacker magazine. Overall I was rather impressed by the presentation. The movie is about 2 hours and 20 minutes followed by Tom Brokaw recapping the story and talking about real events at Yellowstone for another 40 minutes.

(continued) Now I must admit, I am a sucker for disaster films as long as they meet the following criteria:
1) The science is reasonably sound
2) The sentimentality factor isn't dialed up too high.
3) The scientist / hero doesn't become superhuman, returning to the place of the disaster to save his or her child, lover, serum that will heal the world, etc.

Supervolcano managed to keep all of these straight, and it generally worked for me, although geology / plate techtonics, etc., are not my field. I'm also not sure if the "Walk To Life" concept would have been successful when initiated on the 3rd or 4th day of the eruption.

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#1

In Relation to Plate Tectonics?

04/11/2005 9:30 AM

I question the role of my understanding of plate tectonics with the science fiction flict I stayed up to watch last night. Also, for any of those that dig volcanoes know that scientist often spend months fully aware that a volcanoe is likely to errupt. One of the best known case studys I know of would be Mt. Pinotubo. The idea is that several smaller earth quakes taking place have only to do with the movement of magma to the crater. We can use seismology to track these earthquakes and when we see very shallow earthquakes close to the position of the mouth of the volcanoe we then know that we may be in danger. Also of great imortance is the gas release from such volcanoes which can tell you how violent an eruption might be. The only relation to plate tectonics is the once subducted crust, very dense rock has melted in the upper mantle and the uplift of the magma into the chamber is allowing the less dense liquid form to surface.

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#2

Seen it

04/11/2005 3:32 PM

I've seen a super volcano show on DSC before, and that sounds like the same show (without Brokaw). Pretty wild to think about a huge chunk of earth blowing up like that... sending debris for hundreds of miles. Damn!

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