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Mount St. Helens Eruption Baffles Scientists 381

Posted by Zonk
from the it-just-keeps-going-and-going dept.
jurt1235 writes "Mount St. Helens, which started erupting 15 months ago, is still erupting. The weird part is, by now every 3 seconds 10 cubic yards of lava is coming out of the volcano but scientists cannot determine from where it is coming anymore. From the article: 'The volume is greater than anything that could be standing in a narrow 3-mile pipe. That suggests resupply from greater depths, which normally would generate certain gases and deep earthquakes. Neither is being detected.'"
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Mount St. Helens Eruption Baffles Scientists

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  • No-brainer (Score:5, Funny)

    by Daedalus-Ubergeek (600951) on Saturday December 31, 2005 @04:44PM (#14371642)
    scientists cannot determine from where it is coming anymore.


    Uhhh... the earth?
    • by gmuslera (3436) on Saturday December 31, 2005 @04:46PM (#14371652) Homepage Journal
      Hell?
      • Yes, but... (Score:5, Funny)

        by abb3w (696381) on Saturday December 31, 2005 @05:25PM (#14371817) Journal
        Where in the hell is all that lava coming from?
      • This is what happens when you let Intelligent Design into our schools.
        • Yes, because everyone knows that the hot gas and ash are really coming from The Flying Spaghetti Monster. Did you notice the increase in the level of pirate activity and global warming and how they relate? My pasta, man, what are they teaching in schools these days? That there is no Flying Spaghetti Monster? But look at the facts, look at the facts.
          • FSM (Score:3, Funny)

            As a matter of faith and belief, of course I believe that His Noodly Appendage rests firmly behind these unexplained lava flows at Mt. Saint Helens.

            But as a scientist, I have to ask, "Has anyone seen Godzilla lately? He doesn't seem to be in Japan."
        • by MacDork (560499)
          This is what happens when sharks with frickin' laser beams attached to their heads are misplaced and left to their own devices.
    • But... (Score:3, Funny)

      by brian0918 (638904)
      But, the earth is hollow [v-j-enterprises.com].
    • Science (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Mark_MF-WN (678030) on Saturday December 31, 2005 @06:53PM (#14372163)
      Science can't explain something? It must mean that volcanoes are formed by intelligent eruption! From now on, geology textbooks will need stickers claiming that Plate Tectonics is just a theory, and that there are other theories that explain vulcanism -- like Loki raging against his chains, or something.
      • Re:Science (Score:3, Insightful)

        by one4nine4two (683126)
        Plate tectonics is just a theory. Widely accepted and probably only limited to theory status due to an inability to properly test the theory, but a theory nonetheless.
        • Re:Science (Score:3, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward
          For the last time, theories that are fact don't get upgraded to laws. That's why putting a sticker saying "evolution is just a theory" in southern schools is so effective, because they don't know what theory means.
    • by AndroidCat (229562) on Sunday January 01, 2006 @12:18AM (#14373077) Homepage
      It's not lava, it's spaghetti sauce!

      The Noodly One [wikipedia.org] has blessed us with a miracle! (And I forgot my spoon...)

  • by The Spanish Ninja (726892) on Saturday December 31, 2005 @04:45PM (#14371650)
    I'd say it's probably coming from underground.
    • by mark-t (151149) <markt@@@lynx...bc...ca> on Saturday December 31, 2005 @05:23PM (#14371811) Journal
      Because it quite frankly completely eludes me as to why this should be any sort of mystery.

      FTA:

      That suggests resupply from greater depths, which normally would generate certain gases and deep earthquakes. Neither is being detected.
      Ah... so obviously it's *NOT* coming from greater depths? Bzzzt. Wrong answer. While it may be true, it artificially creates a mystery where none should be.

      When the observations don't fit the way things are understood, there are only two possibilities: either the measurements we made are wrong, or what we understood previously was wrong.

      If it can be readily deduced that there is not enough volume in their original estimate of the conduit's size to accomodate the quantity of lava being produced, then either we are wrong about how much lava is coming up, the lava is coming from somewhere deeper, or the conduit's size was estimated incorrectly. Let's assume (probably safely) that the measurements they took on the amount of lava coming up were correct.

      Considering how little we really know about what goes on beneath the surface of the Earth, I'd say that these last two options still have a whole lot of merit. It's not entirely inconceivable, after all, that whatever they think they should have already found if they existed have simply not yet been found due to the limitations of current technology.

      Stories like this artificially create apparent mysteries in a field where none belong.

      • by jayhawk88 (160512) <jayhawk88@gmail.com> on Saturday December 31, 2005 @05:48PM (#14371918)
        When the observations don't fit the way things are understood, there are only two possibilities: either the measurements we made are wrong, or what we understood previously was wrong.

        Which is exactly the train of thought the scientists studying Mt. St. Helens are using to try and figure out this mystery, I'm sure. Don't assume incompetance on their part because of some AP writer didn't get that point across.
      • Or ... (Score:4, Interesting)

        by temojen (678985) on Saturday December 31, 2005 @05:50PM (#14371925) Journal
        Possibly slow resupply of (in geologic terms) small amounts of lava does not nescesarily cause detectable earthquakes and gas release.
        • Re:Or ... (Score:3, Insightful)

          by BushCheney08 (917605)
          Except this is all happening on human time scales, not geologic ones. Unless the capacity of the underlying magma chamber or conduit was misestimated (most likely), we would be feeling the quakes and detecting the gases that the article mentions.
      • Stories like this artificially create apparent mysteries in a field where none belong.

        And we wonder why kids don't want to go into the sciences: there are not (or can be no) mysteries. Why go into a field where everything is already solved, packaged, and delivered? This is the biggest complaint I have about the way science is taught today. Science is shown to have solved all of the mysteries. Evolution is an indisputable fact, and it happened exactly such-and-such a way. There is no room for doubt (y

  • by MyLongNickName (822545) on Saturday December 31, 2005 @04:46PM (#14371653) Journal
    Uncle Cletus' eruptions. Every five minutes. Like clockwork. Cannot be explained entirely -- even after considering his diet of beer and refried beans. By my calculations, the emissions should result in his losing five pounds every year. Yet, at every Christmas party, he shows up heavier than last year.

    Perhaps these two scientific mysteries are related.
  • by dada21 (163177) * <adam.dada@gmail.com> on Saturday December 31, 2005 @04:47PM (#14371663) Homepage Journal
    One of my oldest friends is a professor of geology and geophysics at a University. Because most of what he has told me is off the record and unquotable, I can't give his name (I wish I could). He admits to me that geophysicists have no idea what is happening beneath the thinnest part of the earth's crust that we live on -- and that almost every theory they've created has been shut down by actual accounts of natural phenomena. I wish he'd go public with these thoughts, but I guess it would kill off his funding.

    It really bugs me, actually, that these "scientists" we so admire may be geniuses, or they might just be grant-hunters. I know I always look for the best income for the least amount of work.

    I study oil and gold extraction (I blog about gold mines, too) and I am amazed at how often scientists are proven wrong. I know that it is heretical to say that on slashdot (I was blasted about it earlier this morning on this very forum), but we as a society seem to have too much faith in scientific research finding facts that turn out to be just plain wrong.

    What else have these same scientists theorized that may not be true? Is oil possibly a renewable resource (meaning there is near unlimited amounts deeper within the earth waiting to bubble up)? Is it possible to battle the build-up of CO2, or is much of it coming out of the earth and not manmade? How much of the global climate is an effect of heat expelled from inside our crust, and how much is from "eroding" atmosphere?

    I rarely thank AP writers for their research, but in this case I have to. I'm glad the spotlight is being shined on the fallacies that come out of the mouths of scientists looking for more research dollars (on the backs of the taxpayers). I believe we DO need to carry out research -- not publicly funded -- but I also think we need to evaluate how much of what they discover is really factual enough to base wars, regulations and restrictions on. I understand that science is constantly finding new theories to fix their old ones, and I have no problem with continued research -- just as long as I don't pay for it involuntarily and as long as no one makes laws and restrictions based on non-facts. That doesn't seem to be the case, though.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      So, wait, you're telling me that we *don't* know everything right now? You mean, like, there's some things we, like, don't understand?

      I'm shocked! Shocked and dismayed!
      • by dada21 (163177) * <adam.dada@gmail.com> on Saturday December 31, 2005 @04:58PM (#14371709) Homepage Journal
        I'm not saying that -- read my comment again. I'm saying that we shouldn't be setting permanent rules based on the opinions of people who don't know what is going on. Although that does seem to be the case in almost every rule or law made, now that I think about it.
        • Nothing is permanent, it's only around until it gets changed. So what should they me made based on? A pair of dice?
        • Please give an example of just one permanent law created due to what scientists have claimed.
          • The law of gravity as in Newtons Law is still pretty good, as long as you don't require lots of precision.

            The laws of gravity were refined a lot, but Newtons law still would help you find solutions to problems, and that is what science is good for, even if some of them are only intellectual problems.

            I would not be surprised if the Apollo moon missions had been working with formulas based on Newton, you don't need Einstein to land on the moon AFAIK.
            • Law as in "rule of law", which seemed pretty clear from the context, but I guess if you didn't read the it was replying to it isn't.

              The OP is clearly whining about laws passed based on scientific consensus - laws against painting the nursery with lead based paints, etc - because scientists often get things wrong... The point was supposed to be that no such law is permanent - they can all all the repealed, the only ones that might not be are going to be in theocracies and they aren't going to be based on sci
          • Please give an example of just one permanent law created due to what scientists have claimed.

            How about Hooke's law on deformation of structural elements when external forces are applied to them, leading to legal requirements for civil engineers? Or the statistic observation on heating of electrical conductors from electrical currents, and on physiological effects of electricity on the human heart leading to the National Electrical Code?

            Both physical laws are empirical and claimed as observations, and h

        • > I'm saying that we shouldn't be setting permanent rules based on the opinions of people who don't know what is going on.

          But we do seem to be stuck with being governed by human beings. Historically, human beings almost never seem to know what's going on. The best way to address your well-founded and insightful concern is to stay flexible and to avoid decisions that could cause irreversible damage.
    • by fmobus (831767) on Saturday December 31, 2005 @05:01PM (#14371720)

      I study oil and gold extraction (I blog about gold mines, too) and I am amazed at how often scientists are proven wrong. I know that it is heretical to say that on slashdot (I was blasted about it earlier this morning on this very forum), but we as a society seem to have too much faith in scientific research finding facts that turn out to be just plain wrong.


      Part of the scientific method is proving that other scientist are wrong.
      • by mellon (7048) * on Saturday December 31, 2005 @05:45PM (#14371906) Homepage
        Also, one of the problems with science reporting is that it's largely gee-whiz stuff whose intention is to entertain and alarm, because that's what attracts eyeballs. Rigorous, careful, non-sensational reporting just isn't that exciting. So if we follow science reporting in the popular press (even Science News), we are likely to have a very skewed picture of what's really going on. In particular, we're unlikely to get from the reporting what is really being asserted as the result of any particular study that's being reported on.
        • by myowntrueself (607117) on Saturday December 31, 2005 @06:23PM (#14372068)
          Also, one of the problems with science reporting is that it's largely gee-whiz stuff whose intention is to entertain and alarm

          Just as 'sports news' has become 'sports entertainment' so 'science news' becomes 'science entertainment'.

          Just as the rugby sevens and the one day cricket have turned sporting events into fancy-dress clown parades, so will go the way of science conferences.

          Mark my words; scientists turning up at conference dressed up as Elvis, schoolgirls or king kong hoping to improve their TV ratings.

          It'll be the only way to get funding... whats next??

          A reality-Science show, made for TV!!!

          We'll be reminiscing about the good old days of the 'intelligent design vs evolution' debates!
      • by freddie (2935) on Saturday December 31, 2005 @06:36PM (#14372101)
        Part of the scientific method is proving that other scientist are wrong.
        I think that the problem that the original poster was trying to point out, is that a lot of people, especially here on slashdot, take the current mainstream scientific theories as gospel, when most of the time these theories are eventually proven wrong.
    • And it's people like you who are impeding cancer and other medical research that could inevitably save lives. If you had any scientific knowledge you would know oil is not renewable because it is made of decomposed "fossils" (hence "fossil fuels"). There are not unlimited "fossils" on this planet. Your speaking gibberish to make a very invalid point.

      Scientific research MUST be publically funded, otherwise it wouldn't get funded at all. The government doesn't want it, the people force it. Your right about sc
      • If you had any scientific knowledge you would know oil is not renewable because it is made of decomposed "fossils" (hence "fossil fuels").

        Not all oil. Remember that many diesel engines can run off of corn oil, which is not made from fossils and is renewable
      • Err, the only problem with your argument is we don't know that fossil fuels are in fact from decomposed organisms. It's the leading theory for the source oil, true, and were I to be placing a bet on what the leading scientific theory was in another hundred years, I'd put my money on it. That, however, does not make it a fact.

        With that being said, even if oil is produced from a non-biological source, it's still going to run out. We're sucking out the oil over decades that takes millenia to build up, no mat

      • by Descalzo (898339) on Saturday December 31, 2005 @05:58PM (#14371960) Journal
        "No company/corperation will fund it unless it directly interests them, which is rarely the case."

        But very often it does end up directly interesting a private company or corporation.

        Here's a thought, perhaps private companies/corporations don't fund research enough because the taxpayer is funding it for them.

        Disclaimer: I do not oppose publicly-funded research. I am still thinking about it.

      • You've just described the basic research/applied research rift. Basic research revolves around acquiring knowledge for knowledge's sake. The results may or may not find a use in the near future. Companies are somewhat wary of funding this because the ROI is unknown. The other side of this is applied research, which utilizes the fruits of basic research to solve problems and improve lives. The ROI here is much greater, since ultimately a solution to a given problem is likely to be found. Applied research rel
      • by WryCoder (18961) <kbkNO@SPAMshore.net> on Saturday December 31, 2005 @08:57PM (#14372604)
        If you had any scientific knowledge you would know oil is not renewable because it is made of decomposed "fossils" (hence "fossil fuels"). There are not unlimited "fossils" on this planet. Your speaking gibberish to make a very invalid point.
        And if you had a scientific attitude you would be less dogamatic in your statements. It's unlikely that the vast quantities of petroleum came from rotting vegetation. Rather, it's primordial, derived from methane and similar hydrocarbons dating back to the formation of the earth. Check out "The Deep, Hot Biosphere" by Thomas Gold.
        • by Latent Heat (558884) on Saturday December 31, 2005 @10:33PM (#14372877)
          My understanding is that Thomas Gold was arguing that the source of oil, gas, and possibly even coal (yeah, yeah, I know about how coal is dense with fossil imprints) is in the upper mantle, and the carbon got there by the cold accretion of carbonaceous meteorites during the formation of the Earth, the same way methane and other hydrocarbons to to Titan.

          Two difficulties with that. One is that the Moon is supposed to have formed from a collision with a Mars-sized body over 4 billion years ago. That collision is believed to have melted everything down to a 1000 km. The other is that the mantle has abundant oxygen and heat, and plate tectonics says it is in convective motion mixing up the different layers (although very slowly) -- one would think all the carbon is now CO2 or CaCO3 or something by now.

          However, there is still the matter of diamonds, which are not believed to be dead dinosaurs (diamonds are aged 1 billion years or more, typically) -- they had to have originated in the upper mantle (about 100 km down) and had to have been brought to the surface rapidly (to avoid reversion to graphite, although you get graphite pseudomorphs of diamond -- clumps of graphite shaped like diamond crystals which were probably diamonds brought up too slowly so they reverted to the stable graphite form). While diamonds are rare, and the Kiberlite pipe eruptions that brought them up are rare and maybe date only to an earier geologic epoch, there has to be something to produce reduced carbon down below.

          J F Kenney and his Russian associates believe that starting with FeO, CaCO3 and H2O (stuff not hard to find in the mantle owing to limestone and water being subducted down and Fe being brought up by mantle convection) you can end up with CH4 plus higher chain hydrocarbons. The argument is that about 100 km down is the only place methane, octane, and above can form is that the thermodynamics works at those temps and pressures and that the thermodynamics don't work for turning plant/algae material into oil in the traditional "oil window" of about 1-2 miles down.

          So, there you have it -- oil is created from the same place an process as engagement ring stones, not only does oil not come from dead dinosaurs but from rocks instead (although the subducted CaCO3 could have its origins in biology of reef building), but that oil is not latent solar energy (in the form of sequestered biomass) but that oil is in reality geothermal energy (geologic raw materials brought together by heat-driven mantle convection and endothermic reactions driven by mantle heat).

          If oil is really geothermal instead of solar in origin, one could consider and advanced technological culture with the capability of somehow using the environment of 100 km down as a natural resource, and of establishing a closed-cycle renewable geothermal based energy economy based on -- oil! One could sequester CO2 deep below and get back reduced carbon, all driven by geothermal power, which has its origins in natural radioactive decay along with the latent heat of fusion of iron in the core.

          I mean think about it. A lot of the speculation about advanced energy cultures for the far future look outward into space and of tapping the vast resource of solar energy on the Earth surface, in Earth orbit, and beyond -- think Dyson sphere. Has anyone speculated, either in popular science writing or science fiction, about an advanced energy culture fully utilizing the energy resource within a planet?

          You may say drilling or tunneling 10 km is stretching it not to imagine 100 km? But who is to say drill. Some MIT dude suggested using a million tons of molton iron (some grant proposal) to melt and sink its way all the way to the core to carry some kind of probe to find out "what is down there." Who is to say that some related scheme may be able to both bring materials down to the mantle (say CO2) and bring back materials (oil and gas) in a closed loop? I am not saying it is practical with today's technology, but it is not anything violating

    • Honestly, do you have to troll on EVERY science-related article on /. today? As you yourself said, science is a process of constructing hypotheses, collecting evidence, building theories, and continuing testing. Some theories get altered or outright trashed by evidence, but that's how we make scientific progress. All scientists act upon the best information they have, while trying to in turn collect more information.

      As to your comment about paying for science "involuntarily" and "laws and restrictions

    • Modern society lacks the tools to allow citizens and consumers to collaborate in the free market to make things like basic research happen and to make things like poor working conditions stop happening. The Libertarian position is that if the government stopped acting like a crutch for society, then society would develop its own superior mechanisms for public benefit. I don't know if that's true, but if it is, it would not be a fast or easy transition. Calling for the end of public funding is an extremel
    • I liked the anonymous reference to Velikovsky and the attack on publicly funded science. And the mixed metaphor (try shining a spotlight on a fallacy coming out of someone's mouth). On the basis of a supposed quote from an unidentifiable professor we are supposed to believe that all that research is rubbish? Yes, surely. Because an anecdotal unidentifiable urban legend is just so much more reliable than peer-reviewed scientists who put their reputations on the line when they go public with research based on
    • Is there any limit to your expertise?
      Is there a topic you can't turn into call for libertarian policies?
      Is there a field in which you don't have high placed friends?

      More importantly, though, is there ever a source of yours who is willing to be named?
    • Science is the process by which we make better theories and disprove current ones (and find better ones). We will almost never be perfectly right, although this process does lead in general to better models of the world. Also theories don't need to be always right to be usable, see Newton. I'm sure people in hurricane prone areas would love if you told them to stop listening to the hurricane warning because we can't perfectly predict where the storm will go.

      We don't know everything, we base our decisions on
    • What else have these same scientists theorized that may not be true?

      All scientific theories may not be true. It's a necessary condition for them to be scientific theories. Knowing the first thing about science no one would be amazed that scientific theories are often proven wrong. Scientific experiments are designed to prove theories wrong. The scientific gold exists in those theories that scientists haven't proven wrong after extensive experimentation.

    • "....I am amazed at how often scientists are proven wrong....finding facts that turn out to be just plain
      wrong"

      Please do a yourself (and us) a favor and do a quick google for "Scientific Method" and educate yourself.

      Scientists expect to be wrong, it's part of the process: Posit a theory, prove it wrong, rework the
      theory, prove it a wrong again, rinse, repeat until you get to where you can't prove it wrong -- at that
      point you have a tentative "fact." Until then it's all just theory waiting for the next proof
    • but I also think we need to evaluate how much of what they discover is really factual enough to base wars, regulations and restrictions on. I understand that science is constantly finding new theories to fix their old ones, and I have no problem with continued research -- just as long as I don't pay for it involuntarily and as long as no one makes laws and restrictions based on non-facts. That doesn't seem to be the case, though.

      I agree that it is dumb to base laws on regulations on scientific theories tha

    • by Starker_Kull (896770) on Saturday December 31, 2005 @05:55PM (#14371946)
      "I study oil and gold extraction (I blog about gold mines, too) and I am amazed at how often scientists are proven wrong. I know that it is heretical to say that on slashdot (I was blasted about it earlier this morning on this very forum), but we as a society seem to have too much faith in scientific research finding facts that turn out to be just plain wrong."

      That's true. Faith based reasoning is far more likely to lead us to correct results. /sarcasm

      The REASON we find out that scientific reasearch frequently turns out to be "wrong" is because the whole process of science is meant to test whether what we think to be true, is. Unless you are an omniscient being, you can never know for sure what is going on outside of your direct sensory range - so to be useful, to make predictions beyond that, science HAS to speculate and come up with theories. After a theory is put out there, then it is tested and probed. As our measurements become more precise, or we develop new tools to see in ways we could not before, we find that the theories may no longer match our expanded horizons. So we go back and attempt to improve the theory, which leads some amateurs to say the previous theories were "wrong" - a useless, emotional characterization, since no theory can be ever be "right" - the best one can be is consistent with all presently known data. Newton's theory of gravitation is "wrong", but for a "wrong" theory, it sure is accurate. And the whole "spherical earth" theory may be wrong, but it's good to 1 part in 1,000. Even the flat-earth theory was good for its time; when you live 99% of your life in a small patch of it, the difference between 8 inches of curvature per mile and 0 inches of curvature per mile is pretty small.

      "It really bugs me, actually, that these "scientists" we so admire may be geniuses, or they might just be grant-hunters. I know I always look for the best income for the least amount of work."

      In that case, it sounds like you should admire the grant-hunters. They are getting the best income for their minimal scientific amounts of work, right?

      "What else have these same scientists theorized that may not be true? Is oil possibly a renewable resource (meaning there is near unlimited amounts deeper within the earth waiting to bubble up)? Is it possible to battle the build-up of CO2, or is much of it coming out of the earth and not manmade? How much of the global climate is an effect of heat expelled from inside our crust, and how much is from "eroding" atmosphere?"

      All possible. But highly unlikely. At the temperatures and pressures found deeper in the earth, oil tends to break down and so we don't find large reserviors of it below a certain depth. But perhaps, through some mechanism (of which we have no clue nor any prima face evidence that it exists), there is oil being spontaneously generated deep in the earth. CO2? Possibly it is coming in significant quantites out of the crust. But atmospheric CO2 seems to correlate very closely with the industrial revolution and the first widespread use of heat-engines by humans. As for heat expelled from the crust, that's one of the more measurable variables, thanks to the infrared imaging capabilities of many geostationary wx satellites (funded publicly). The present amount of evidence indicates that it negligble, but it could be wrong. Of course, aliens could be deliberately screwing with our satellites and messing with the evidence....

      Anything is possible. But when dollars for research, whether public or private, are limited, you have to make educated choices as for what is more likely and what is not, based on the best knowledge you presently have; and right now, those theories are pretty low down on the probability scale.

      "I rarely thank AP writers for their research, but in this case I have to. I'm glad the spotlight is being shined on the fallacies that come out of the mouths of scientists looking for more research dollars (on the backs of the taxpayers). I believe we DO need
      • ONe nit.. at temps and pressures found deep in the earth oil can't exist. Well acording to conventional knowledge niether can water and yet it was found by the Russians in their Kola hole at unthinkable depths, temps and pressures. That hole is some 40,000 feet deep and is the deepest hole yet dug by man. The Kola dig is a fascinating venture. It has found contradictions with standing theory at almost every point along the way and yet there has been no real move by science to update those theories to match
  • Well, duh! (Score:5, Funny)

    by schon (31600) on Saturday December 31, 2005 @04:48PM (#14371667)
    It's obviously the work of an evil mastermind, setting up his new lair.

    Since he needs the space, he's melting the rock in order to make space for his laboratory. The eruptions will stop once he's managed to carve his face into the side of the mountain.

    My money is either on Hank Scorpio or Dr. Evil.
  • by Catbeller (118204) on Saturday December 31, 2005 @04:50PM (#14371670) Homepage
    The lava is coming from HAAAYYYYLLLL.

    We christen this theory "Infernal Leakage". Soon to be taught in every school south of Joliet, Illinois.

    Mess with us, and we'll sue! WE know who's behind all this Geologyist perversion of the Truth, and we'll be soon beating them nearly to death on the sides of the road, not to mention getting them canned from their posts for uttering blsphemy against Go- -er- Infernal Leakage theory.
  • by Herkules (460636) <darwin@nOspam.tnonline.net> on Saturday December 31, 2005 @04:50PM (#14371674)
    Are people taught to use "cubic yards" in US schools? I thought all science in the US used the metric system ?
    • Yes, scientific work in the US is done in meters. A yard is close to a meter; I wouldn't be surprised if either the journalist is substituting "yard" for "meter", or the scientist he interviewed is (since the difference is less than the roundoff error and the American public doesn't know what a meter is).
    • by Jerf (17166)
      No, we're taught to measure volume in terms of Nature's Simultaneous Harmonic 4-Day Time Cubes, which your singularity education has left you unable to comprehend, you educated stupid.

      You have not the mentality to comprehend the simple math of Cubic antipode creation, for at about age 6, your parents gave your 2 opposite antipode brains to Big Brother academic hirelings, to clone thought to serve evil singularity brotherhood - destroying Cubic families, villages and tribes.

      I think it's something like 1 Natu
  • Volcano Cam (Score:5, Interesting)

    by FudRucker (866063) on Saturday December 31, 2005 @04:50PM (#14371676)
    http://www.fs.fed.us/gpnf/volcanocams/msh/ [fs.fed.us]

    if they get the camera up again you can watch it...
  • by DrJimbo (594231) * on Saturday December 31, 2005 @04:55PM (#14371696)
    From the FA:
    The volcano, about 100 miles south of Seattle, fell silent in 1986.
    Sounds like the dark lord Sauron is up to his evil tricks again. Probably firing up Mount Doom to forge some new rings that will bind people to Vista.

    • How far away is Redmond from Mt. St. Helens?
    • by Feanturi (99866) on Saturday December 31, 2005 @06:51PM (#14372157)

      1,920 kilobytes for the Elven-Kings under the sky,
          4,480 for the Dwarf-lords in their halls of stone
      5,760 for Mortal Men doomed to die,
          640K for the Dark Lord on his dark throne
      In the Land of Redmond where the Shadows lie.
          640K to rule them all, 640k to find them,
          640K to bring them all and in the darkness bind them
      In the Land of Redmond where the Shadows lie.
  • by 6350' (936630)
    Cardiologists must hate working here in the pacific northwest. This quake summary from the Pacific Northwest Seismograph Network demonstrates what I'm sure is a corelary for coronaries:

    http://www.pnsn.org/recenteqs/latest.htm [pnsn.org]

    Toss in Mount Baker, Mout Rainier, Mount Adams, Mount Hood, and Mount Jefferson (all volcanoes in the NW), and I'm beginning to suspect we here could be accused of the same idiocy with which some people in the hurricane "belt" are blamed, but on a slightly more geologic scale.
  • Excellent news! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 31, 2005 @05:04PM (#14371734)
    "The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds the new discoveries, is not 'Eureka!' (I found it) but 'That's funny...'" --Isaac Asimov
  • by rozthepimp (638319) on Saturday December 31, 2005 @05:07PM (#14371747)
    While I am not familiar with this particular AP reporter, I would prefer to see a news release by the USGS on the subject rather than one from a news service. I was a USGS geologist in 1980 and did field work measuring the bulge prior to the May 1980 eruption. Anytime we were interviewed regarding the science, the resulting published story was almost always incredibly skewed/magled/distorted crap.
    • by shawb (16347) on Saturday December 31, 2005 @05:31PM (#14371841)
      Yeah... that holds true of just about every little thing reported when I've had personal experiences with the event. Not only do they get the general topic completely off base, but you'll find some places inventing little interesting details that just aren't there.
      • by Dun Malg (230075) on Saturday December 31, 2005 @09:24PM (#14372694) Homepage
        Yeah... that holds true of just about every little thing reported when I've had personal experiences with the event. Not only do they get the general topic completely off base, but you'll find some places inventing little interesting details that just aren't there.

        USGS Geologist: ...so what we're seeing with the continued eruption without the typical earth movement and outgassing is a bit of a mystery. We're unsure where the pressure is coming from.

        AP Reporter: so what you're saying is that the pressure will either form diamonds, like Superman, or spray lava all over Washington state?

        USGS: Huh? No. No diamonds. And while inevitably the volcano probably WILL explode someday in the future, there's no sign of it coming any time soon.

        AP reporter: so what you're saying is that it could explode without warning and set off "The Big One", causing California to fall into the ocean?

        USGS: Not at all! The pressures involved presently are low because the lava flow is continuous.

        AP: so what you're saying is that soon the lava will flow continuously like a river of fiery death, all the way to the sea, destroying Portland along the way?

        USGS: Errr...no, I think it's safe to say there will be no river of lava. The worst thing we have to worry about is the silicates in the smoke plume damaging aircraft engines.

        AP: so what you're saying is that the massive column of smoke will send all the world's airliners plummeting to the ground, killing thousands?

        USGS: Wha? No, The airplanes will be fine! Look, this is just an interesting puzzle, really. We simply can't explain the lack of gasses in the outflow.

        AP: Well OK then, I got it now. Thanks!


        -AP wire, next day-

        SCIENTISTS BAFFLED BY GAS SHORTAGES, PREDICT CATASTROPHIC EXPLOSION

        USGS: &#%@*!

  • Feel the heat... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by gmuslera (3436)
    Maybe another thing we could worry about is not from where is coming, but where is going. 15 months of continuous eruption could have some consequence in global climate? What about expelled gas, dust, etc? Short but massive eruptions (i.e. Krakatoa) had global influence in climate, could a small but very long ones have generate global changes too?
    • by Anonymous Coward
      No. Don't worry about things like that, it would take steam away from all the Bush bashers.
  • That suggests resupply from greater depths, which normally would generate certain gases and deep earthquakes.

    Why am I reminded of a certain roommate...
  • Available volume? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Trevin (570491)
    3 miles is pretty long, and 10 cubic yards isn't very much. Assuming the flow rate has been constant for the last 15 months, I estimate it would have spit out 130 million cubic yards, and there are 5.45 billion cubic yards in a cubic mile. Just how 'narrow' is it?
  • by Greyfox (87712) on Saturday December 31, 2005 @06:14PM (#14372033) Homepage Journal
    I postulate that there is a VERY large supply of vinegar, baking soda and red food coloring somewhere nearby.
  • by gelfling (6534) on Saturday December 31, 2005 @06:19PM (#14372056) Homepage Journal
    Don't worry it's not a bug, it's a feature.
  • by Glove d'OJ (227281) on Saturday December 31, 2005 @07:16PM (#14372245) Homepage
    The whole "well, we saw X, so THIS must be true" type statements in this article remind me of a joke delineating the differences between college majors:

    An art major, an engineering major, and a math major are all in the same train car as it rides through England. They look out the window, and see a single black sheep in a field.

    "All the sheep in England must be black!" exclaims the art major.

    "No, at least one sheep in England is black," states the engineering major haughtily.

    The math major snorts. "No, he says. The only thing that we know is that there is at least one sheep in England that is black... on at least one side!"
  • by eno2001 (527078) on Saturday December 31, 2005 @07:35PM (#14372311) Homepage Journal
    It went a little something like this:

    Once there was a village in the country. The people were happy. The village was nice. In general things were pretty good. Then one day a man in the village discovered a deep dark hole just outside of the village. He yelled into it and was surprised that his voice did not echo back. He called a few others who also wondered at the discovery. Soon it was decided that the hole should be inspected further and people gathered the tools to do so. The first test was to yell "hello" as lous as possible and listen for an echo carefully. This failed. The next test was to throw a stone into the hole and listen for it to hit the bottom. This was done, but no sound was ever heard. The next test was to drop something more substantial into the hole and listen for it to hit bottom. Again, nothing was heard. More tests followed until...

    It was decided that the hole was the perfect place for the village's rubbish to be disposed of. Day after day, week after week and year after year, they continued to throw their litter into the hole. Until one day many many years later, the man who discovered the hole heard a voice call from above just outside his home, "Hellllo". He was startled but ignored it. The next day he heard another voice calling followed by a small stone hitting the ground near him. It was then that he realized what had happened and wished he'd never found the hole outside of the village.

    ---

    Now, I could simply make some flip statement about him having found Bob Goatse... but instead I'll make the point that perhaps the endless flow of lava is coming from the Earth's future where all of our waste is miraculously disposed of through some kind of wormhole... ;P Happy New Year you sods!
  • by TyrelHaveman (159881) on Saturday December 31, 2005 @07:36PM (#14372315) Homepage
    10 cubic yards every 3 seconds, I believe that comes out to 288000 cubic yards per day.

    The article indicates that this has been happening at this pace for 15 months... so roughly 635 days. That makes 182,880,000 total cubic yards of lava.

    With that much lava, you could cover a typical city block (1/4 mile by 1/4 mile according to my estimates?) 1417 feet (432 meters) deep. That's almost as tall as the Sears Tower (including the antennas), and taller than the Empire State Building. So fill one of them up with lava. That's enough lava for me :-)

    For this amount of lava to have come out of the "narrow 3 mile pipe" they mention in the article (assuming it doesn't get refilled and it's perfectly cylindrical), the pipe would need to be 178 feet in diameter... is that "narrow"? Dunno... I'm not a geologist :-P
    • by cluckshot (658931) on Saturday December 31, 2005 @08:36PM (#14372528)

      Doesn't everyone here love math! Thanks for the calculations.

      Now how about getting just a few oddities and throwing them into the mix. (1) A volcano's magma does not force its way up and out... The Archimedes Principal clearly shows eruptions to be displacement reactions. This means that there is a sinking going on. Unless something crazy is going on like the earth is expanding or something like that. (2) Plasma Physics of the rest of the Universe indicates that we really aught to be measuring electrical energy flows in the area. (www.thunderbolts.info) We could be looking at inductive heating etc. (3) What about Subduction and Plate Techtonics here? Does this indicate we really don't know what is going on? Check this out! (www.nealadams.com/nmu.html)

      This isn't troll -- It was added just to spice up the thinking so mods if you don't like it -- GET OVER IT!

The shortest distance between two points is under construction. -- Noelie Alito

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