Category Archive 'Montana'
05 Jan 2009

Alarm Over Increased Seismic Activity at Yellowstone

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You won’t need to worry about Global Warming if the Yellowstone Caldera decides to erupt.

London Times:

Hundreds of earthquakes have hit Yellowstone National Park, raising fears of a more powerful volcanic eruption.

The earthquake swarm, the biggest in more than 20 years, is being closely monitored by scientists and emergency authorities.

The series of small quakes included three last Friday which measured stronger than magnitude 3.0. The strongest since this latest swarm of quakes began on December 27 was 3.9.

No damage has yet been reported but scientists say this level of activity – there have been more than 500 tremors in the last week – is highly unusual.

“The earthquake sequence is the most intense in this area for some years,” said the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory. Some of the larger earthquakes have been felt by park employees and guests, according to the observatory.

The swarm is occurring beneath the northern part of Yellowstone Lake in the park. Yellowstone sits on the caldera of an ancient supervolcano and continuing geothermal activity can be seen in the picturesque geysers and steam holes, such as Old Faithful.

About 1,000 to 2,000 tremors a year have been recorded since 2004. …

Professor Robert B. Smith, a geophysicist at the University of Utah and one of the leading experts on earthquake and volcanic activity at Yellowstone, said that the swarm was significant.

“It’s not business as usual,” he said. “This is a large earthquake swarm, and we’ve recorded several hundred. We are paying careful attention. This is an important sequence.”

The last full-scale explosion of the Yellowstone Supervolcano, the Lava Creek eruption which happened approximately 640,000 years ago, ejected about 240 cubic miles of rock and dust into the sky.

Geologists have been closely monitoring the rise and fall of the Yellowstone Plateau as an indication of changes in magma chamber pressure.

The Yellowstone caldera floor has risen recently – almost 3in per year for the past three years – a rate more than three times greater than ever observed since such measurements began in 1923.

From mid-summer 2004 through to mid-summer 2008, the land surface within the caldera moved upwards as much as 8in at the White Lake GPS station. The last major earthquake swarm was in 1985 and lasted three months.

USGS Yellowstone Volcano Observatory site

Map of recent earthquakes

15 Sep 2008

Get the Geezers Off Those Bikes

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Is there any sight more ridiculous than some aging baby boomer peddling away in his spandex outfit and insectoid helmet on a bicycle? Bicycles are alright for small boys to use on paper routes or to get to the park to play baseball, but their use as a fitness tool by aging hippies is unseemly and undignified and only results in inconvenience to motorists and unnecessary accidents.

Not even the bears in the Rocky Mountain West are safe these days.

Last Thursday, UPI reports:

A 57-year-old man in Missoula, Mont., says he is lucky to be alive after accidentally crashing his bicycle into the side of a wild bear.

Middle school teacher Jim Litz said while he is no stranger to seeing bears during his daily commute along an area dirt road, this week he didn’t’ have time to avoid one of the wild animals that had wandered into his way, The (Missoula, Mont.) Missoulian said Thursday.

“I didn’t have time to respond. I never even hit my brakes,” Litz said of Monday’s accident.

The teacher said after the impact flipped him off his bike, the bear began clawing at him apparently in confusion and anger. That attack left Litz with scratches and bruises along most of his body.

While Litz admits to being sore and a bit clawed up following the unexpected crash, he says he is lucky to have survived the incident and holds no ill will toward the animal.

“I was lucky. I was truly lucky, because I accosted the bear and he let me live,” he told the Missoulian. “I truly respect them. They’re beautiful creatures.”

That bear may be “a beautiful creature,” but a spindle-shanked, potbellied goofball in day-glo spandex certainly is not.

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Last June, there was another incident of the same kind in Colorado, as the Rocky Mountain News reports:

A cyclist in Boulder County was injured after a run-in, literally, with a bear.

Tim Egan, 53, was riding on Old Stage Road Tuesday afternoon when suddenly a bear appeared in front of him. Egan hit the bear and ended up skidding across the road.

“This bear looked at me with a look of terror on his face and sort of made a noise,” said Egan. “I looked at him with a look of terror and we went, ‘aaaahhhhh.'”

He cracked some ribs, suffered cuts on his head and had road rash. Egan said he and the bike flipped and flew over the bear, hitting the pavement hard.

The bear ran away after the accident when a deer appeared.

Egan’s nephew ran to help the injured cyclist.

“When I tell people, they say ‘Right, are you kidding me, who hits a bear?'”

Egan estimated he was going about 45 miles per hour at impact. He said the bear was about 6 feet tall and probably weighed 500 pounds.

When are these bears going to wise up? A fully-digested bicyclist is a safe bicyclist, I always say.

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Hat tip to Karen L. Myers.

02 Aug 2006

Five Foot Alligator Taken in Montana Pond

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An eleven year old boy fishing in Shady Lane Pond in Kalispell, Montana, a less than tropical location, hooked a 5 foot, 60 pound alligator, which was subsequently brought ashore and dispatched by a crowd of local Montanans.

The question is: how did the alligator manage to reach that size without encountering a Montana winter?

Daily Inter Lake

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