Yellowstone National Park (USA, Montana/Wyoming) is on the edge of the news, set there by some scientists with a timely warning. Well, sort of a warning. Much of the park sits on the world’s largest caldera, or if you prefer, supervolcano. The geeks are telling of the likely result when next it goes off again, an earthly cataclysm, though they hurry to say that the indubitable event is not very likely just now. Of course they don’t know that, it’s an estimate without experience, as so many such things. Lie global warming that way.
That brings up Major General Drayson, though our scientists didn’t mention him. He noticed that the earth, a rotating body, precesses (i.e. wobbles) over time. A bit under 30 degrees, in fact. He wondered if the solid surface and the softer molten part of the interior altered their positions at the same rate. Then he thought that this question could help elucidate the periodic geomagnetic reversals our planet undergoes, when the north and south magnetic poles swap places. (No, we have no wine in front of us. You may query NASA on: “geomagnetic reversal” and let them explain it. One such appears underway now.) Most scientists considered General Drayson funny back when he wrote of this; he’s taken more seriously now. Being right may do that for you, sometimes though often, after your death as Drayson’s case. And not all accept him yet, though the geomagnetic reversal is real enough, to scientists if not to the media.
But there are a couple of other related bits to this. One is that as the earth tilts with respect to the sun, precessing, different parts of the planet become warmer and cooler as they receive more and less sunlight respectively. This may be the cause of later “ice ages” found in the geologic record as well as the “Little Ice Age” documented in European history. In any case, at present, the Arctic appears to be warming some while North America and Europe are cooling a bit. That fits the theory, especially if it continues. Of course, global warming it ain’t, nor global cooling either. And while it’s not certain, it’s real science, not political science like global warming. All the uncertainty is a useful clue deciding which is science and which is political, seems to us. Politicians tend toward the positive, justifying spending.
Right now, the north magnetic pole is moving and that is measured, no question. The rest is eggheads theorizing. And General Drayson. We will see.
There’s one more piece to this; it ties into the Yellowstone report. General Drayson and some others since, wondered whether a different rate of precession between the inner and outer portions of the planet might not result in an increase in volcanism. Like the Yellowstone caldera going off, for instance. Nobody knows, of course. But the thought just may have been involved in those guys putting out their current Yellowstone report, right? Preparing the public without panic, maybe? Probably not, just a coincidence. And they recently discovered that there’s a lot more molten rock under Yellowstone than they had though.
Not much solid knowledge, but much that’s interesting to consider, no? We note that the authors of the Yellowstone report didn’t seem to mention the lesser but large calderas in Central California and New Mexico. We believe that we recall one in New Zealand, too; doubtless they exist in other places too. Supervolcanos, yeah.
So what do we know? Not a lot, though more than we know about global warming. We know that the north magnetic pole for several years now, has been moving away from Canada toward Russia at an accelerating rate. We know that there is some recent Arctic warming and north temperate zonal cooling. We know that calderas have exploded in the past and store enough molten rock to explode in the future. We know that the earth is altering its angle toward the sun. Slowly. And we hope that we know not to trust politicians! And that is all …