The end of the world

Have you heard the latest in doomsday developments? No, it’s not a virus. No, it’s not an asteroid, and no, it’s not Dr. Evil’s new reality show. This particular end game is definitely gonna go down. Someday.

I heard about this future ultra-disaster from Travus T. Hipp during one of his recent radio commentaries. In researching further, I found scientific info in abundance on the Internet.

What will one day wipe out the West, as we know it is the super volcano of Yellowstone—as in Yellowstone National Park. It is absolutely guaranteed to mess everything up from Bismarck to Bakersfield, and from Edmonton to Ensenada. We’re not just talking the Big One here but the Biggest One, a volcanic event that will make Mount St. Helens look like a pupfish fart.

This news is just a few years old, the product of satellite imagery. The newly discovered caldera of Yellowstone is so large in its elliptical diameter that there was no way we could ever see it from the ground. But look at Yellowstone from space and there it is, the rim of an enormous and ancient super volcano.

There aren’t many super volcanoes on our planet. That’s good, because they suck. Actually, they blow. And when one of these awesome sumbitches blows, it’s capable of wasting not just the continent on which it’s found, but also wreaking monster havoc upon the Earth itself, via nuclear winter scenarios involving thick clouds of ash circling the globe and dropping temperatures by 20 degrees. When that happens, many species have a tendency to go bye bye. In fact, it’s suggested that the last known super eruption, a hot spot called Toba in Indonesia 75,000 years ago, very nearly got rid of us homo sapiens.

Geologists say Yellowstone has pitched Armageddon-ish hissy fits at least three times in its past: 2 million years ago, 1.3 million years ago and 650,000 years ago. That means, given the roughness of geological estimates, that it could blow again in 20 years, or 10,000 years or 100,000 years. There are ominous indications, though, that the magma will hit the fan sooner rather than later. You knew there would be ominous indications, right? I mean, without ominous indications, this column is just treadin’ water. Therefore, please note the ominous measurements that show some parts of the park have risen 24 inches in the last 75 years. Such bulges have certain scientists, especially the ones that drink tequila and smoke pot, feeling somewhat wigged. If large earthquakes ever begin to rumble with frequency in Yellowstone, like five 7.0s in a month, it might be a good time to head to Honolulu. Or Auckland. Don’t forget the 401k.

When the earth finally gives way to this massive pressure, it’s predicted that lava will shoot 30 miles into the atmosphere. Noxious gases will pour out in unimaginable volume. Reno’s pleasant climate will be history. Tahoe will fill with ash. Vegas will get very weird. And Yucca Mountain; who knows?