Slashdot is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop


Forgot your password?

Journal: Some late night ramblings of an over-caffinated mind

Journal by Count_Froggy

There have been a number of news reports regarding Super-Volcanic action in the recent weeks. Much of it centers on increased seismic activity in the Yellowstone area of North America. Another has been the report of a theoretical analysis of the Earth's Moon being formed as a result of a Super-Volcanic eruption, instead of the currently prevalent impact theory.

I do not consider myself to be a competent technician in the analysis of super volcanoes; but a series of questions have come to mind.
* A super volcano can be considered a rocket engine on the side of a spherical, spinning spacecraft in orbit along with another slightly smaller spacecraft around a much larger primary (the Sun). The eruption of this super volcano can be considered the firing of the rocket, generating a varying force vector, depending on the timing of the eruption and the duration. How could that affect the:
** orbit of the Earth, relative to the Sun (distance and irregularity),
** orbit of the Earth-Moon pair around each other
* Based on the relative position on the volcano on the surface of the sphere (between the Poles) and the possibility that the force vector may not be directed through the center of the Earth, may also have an impact on the speed of rotation of the planet, the tilt of the axis of rotation, and the wobble of the axis.
** Earth's length of day,
** axial tilt,
** wobble of the axis

In unrelated musings, I have also noted a discussion on the lesser effects of such an eruption on the biosphere. Much of the discussion has centered on the potential of the resulting atmospheric ash, its thickness as it fell, the length of time it might stay airborne, the temperature impact on the planet, the potential for a devastating cooling of the planet in the short run, and the mid-term impact of reduced (and eliminated) growing seasons. Other questions this has raised in my mind are:
* impact on fresh water pH in downstream rivers and lakes of the (probably acidic) ash,
* impact on ocean water pH from the ash
* levels of gas dissolved in both fresh and salt water
* changes in the level of various atmospheric gases, including oxygen, carbon dioxide, nitrogen compounds, sulfur compounds, and water vapor
* possible changes in ocean current resulting from the disruption of the atmosphere
* the impact of these changes on the biosphere

And, a last group of questions:
* the impact on tectonic plates in the area, including the movement of individual plates and the splitting of plates
* impact on other tectonic plates on the planet, like continent formation, splits, and the like
* sea levels, based at least in part on the planetary temperature and the removal of water from the seas into land topping glaciers
* is there geologic, biologic, or other evidence that can be used to support these analysis from prior super volcano eruptions.he planet, the potential for a devastating cooling of the planet in the short run, and the mid-term impact of reduced (and eliminated) growing seasons.

"Life sucks, but it's better than the alternative." -- Peter da Silva