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Yellowstone Hot Spot Shreds Ancient Pacific Ocean

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the tectonic-violence dept.

Earth 69

jamie passes along this excerpt from DiscoveryNews: "If you thought the geysers and overblown threat of a supervolcanic eruption in Yellowstone National Park were dramatic, you ain't seen nothing: deep beneath Earth's surface, the hot spot that feeds the park has torn an entire tectonic plate in half. The revelation comes from a new study (abstract) in the journal Geophysical Research Letters that peered into the mantle beneath the Pacific Northwest to see what happens when ancient ocean crust from the Pacific Ocean runs headlong into a churning plume of ultra-hot mantle material."

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First? (-1, Troll)

Provocateur (133110) | more than 3 years ago | (#33480526)

It's in hot pink, too...or should I wear 3D glasses for that photo?

Funny typo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33480544)

Please fix the "F you" (no offence taken) with a prefix of I :)

Re:Funny typo (5, Funny)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#33480692)

Words which start with "I" are the property of Apple Corp.

Re:Funny typo (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33480874)

f you too jamie

Gulf of Mexico (0)

toastar (573882) | more than 3 years ago | (#33480556)

A lot of people don't realize the gulf of mexico was formed by a giant hot spot like yellowstone.

Re:Gulf of Mexico (-1, Troll)

MikeFM (12491) | more than 3 years ago | (#33480620)

I thought it was a collapsed oil well.

Re:Gulf of Mexico (3, Funny)

MartinSchou (1360093) | more than 3 years ago | (#33480714)

Is that why the oil wells keep catching fire?

Fix Wikipedia, please (2, Insightful)

mangu (126918) | more than 3 years ago | (#33480794)

A lot of people don't realize the gulf of mexico was formed by a giant hot spot like yellowstone.

Perhaps you could fix the Wikipedia article [wikipedia.org] adding that information. Remember, citations are always needed.

Re:Fix Wikipedia, please (0)

cdrudge (68377) | more than 3 years ago | (#33480866)

All he'd have to do is just link here [slashdot.org] and he's cited it, right?

Re:Fix Wikipedia, please (2, Informative)

bunratty (545641) | more than 3 years ago | (#33480960)

No, forum posts are not reliable sources. Neither are blogs or self-published websites. In general, what Wikipedia considers to be a reliable source [wikipedia.org] is a publication that has some sort of editorial control, such as a traditional newspaper or periodical, book published by a traditional publishing company, or a company's official website. That means that you can't just publish your own newsletter or book or website and then cite it in Wikipedia.

Re:Fix Wikipedia, please (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33481044)

Wooooooooosh

Re:Fix Wikipedia, please (3, Interesting)

Abstrackt (609015) | more than 3 years ago | (#33481264)

In general, what Wikipedia considers to be a reliable source [wikipedia.org] is a publication that has some sort of editorial control, such as a traditional newspaper or periodical, book published by a traditional publishing company, or a company's official website.

Like the Geocities page in the references for the UVB-76 article?

Re:Fix Wikipedia, please (1)

bunratty (545641) | more than 3 years ago | (#33481334)

If you find a citation to a source that is unreliable, remove it. I'm sure Wikipedia has typos, too. It's the encyclopedia anyone can edit. Fix it, don't just complain about it.

Re:Fix Wikipedia, please (1)

whoop (194) | more than 3 years ago | (#33481366)

Then get your change removed because you aren't a good enough authority on the topic.

Re:Fix Wikipedia, please (1)

bunratty (545641) | more than 3 years ago | (#33481564)

That's not a good reason for a change to be removed. The way Wikipedia works, any information you add should be verifiable by citing a reliable source. If you do that, no one should simply remove the information, and whether information is removed should have nothing to do with the person who added it.

Re:Fix Wikipedia, please (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33484280)

Unfortunately, the way wikipedia works and how it's supposed to work are two entirely different things.

Re:Fix Wikipedia, please (2, Insightful)

game kid (805301) | more than 3 years ago | (#33481924)

Internet people don't want to fix errors anymore. They want to point and laugh at the idiot who added them, and maybe caption them EPIC FAIL all the while.

The Information Age is dead. Long live the Age of Lulz.

Re:Fix Wikipedia, please (1)

bunratty (545641) | more than 3 years ago | (#33481952)

More importantly, people who have some grudge against Wikipedia point out an insignificant problem in some obscure article and claim that it's why Wikipedia won't work or that it has some fundamental flaw. It's called confirmation bias [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Fix Wikipedia, please (1)

Abstrackt (609015) | more than 3 years ago | (#33484322)

Speaking of confirmation bias...

You seem convinced I have a grudge against Wikipedia or that I believe it won't work just because I pointed out one example that contradicts your belief. But it's exactly what you say it is, "an insignificant problem in some obscure article", so why does it have you worked up? You automatically assumed that because I pointed out an error in one article I not only didn't have an account, but that I've also never attempted to improve the quality of the content.

Of course Wikipedia has flaws or mistakes, any system does, but it seems you're unwilling to accept even one of them being pointed out to you.

Re:Fix Wikipedia, please (1)

Teancum (67324) | more than 3 years ago | (#33497666)

When I see somebody complaining about Wikipedia because of either poorly written articles or something else that has to do with a content issue, my automatic response is: Fix the bloody thing and shut up about it. Content issues are something that is incredibly easy to deal with.

What makes Wikipedia frustrating to work with are the people issues, where some obsessive-compulsive editor who "owns" some article to the point they won't let you contribute any reasonable edit and thin-skinned administrators who swing hard with account blocks merely because you reverted an edit they made... or other things of a similar nature.

Yes, there are problems with Wikipedia, but the issues mainly come from people who are not willing to act in a collaborative manner and don't "get it" in terms of what the whole project is about.

Re:Fix Wikipedia, please (1)

ToasterMonkey (467067) | more than 3 years ago | (#33482456)

Well said. I'm still perplexed why some people think that connecting everyone else together will lead to collective enlightenment.

I mean look all around, we already have probably most of the world meeting together in big rooms regularly to discuss things, and they're not blazing any new trails. So bigger rooms will help us? You'll have the people from little room A standing over in that corner while the people from little room B stand over in another one in the grand room C.

We have pretty good public education services in developed countries, but I think they fail to teach open mindedness, and reasoning. Maybe it isn't something that can be taught, or maybe we just have a really f'ing stupid education system. It doesn't matter how much information you have if people pick the parts they like. That's a problem. Another one is with a giant pit of anonymously sourced information, it's hard to separate fact from opinion from outright lies.

Sure the Internet is powerful, you can lie to somebody instantly on the other side of the planet. If you happen think Americans are stupid for falling for Internet scams, think about the millions of barely literate people from across the globe slowly getting on board. They'll learn everything.. or nothing.. or.. well, one thing's for certain, they'll believe what someone else wants them to.

Re:Fix Wikipedia, please (1)

Teancum (67324) | more than 3 years ago | (#33497744)

I look around to various internet forums and not only do I see "new trails" being blazed, but some incredible things that simply wouldn't have happened years ago without the internet and connections via teleconferencing of a great many projects. Perhaps the most prominent as a broad group is the "open source" movement with the plethora of projects associated with that concept including a major operating system (Linux) although that is hardly the only major thing accomplish.

As far as scams are concerned... people have been plotting scams and getting suckered for as long as there have been people. The only thing that changes is how those scams are done, and even then you can find analogs to earlier efforts.

If you think the internet and public forums are such a bad thing, try staying off for awhile. It might do you and everybody else a whole lot of good.

Re:Fix Wikipedia, please (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33483818)

It's the encyclopedia anyone can edit. Fix it, don't just complain about it.

Look at the pages history dude. It was removed, and some moron put it back.

Yes that's right, the person whom feels they are an authority on the subject, doesn't know how to click a link to see the website has been down for awhile now, and isn't coming back.

Rant:
Since you think anyone can edit it, you fix it. And keep fixing it, since someone even dumber will keep putting the broken link back. Don't stop fixing it until it stays fixed.

Maybe then we will believe you.

Re:Fix Wikipedia, please (1)

Abstrackt (609015) | more than 3 years ago | (#33484242)

If you find a citation to a source that is unreliable, remove it. I'm sure Wikipedia has typos, too. It's the encyclopedia anyone can edit. Fix it, don't just complain about it.

I've reread my comment and don't see where I complained about Wikipedia, I just made an observation that contradicted your statement. If that offended you, you might want to take a break.

As for editing Wikipedia, I have an account and have corrected several obvious typos (e.g. "teh" instead of "the") in several articles, but it seems some of the editors are more interested in scoring points by reverting changes others make than actually verifying whether those changes are correct. I still try fixing the odd article but only changes to the really obscure ones seem to stick. I am trying to fix it but it seems complaining a little is necessary as well.

I don't have any kind of vendetta against Wikipedia, I think it's a great source of information, but it's become "the free encyclopedia that anyone can edit as long as they don't mind their changes being reverted within 24 hours".

Re:Fix Wikipedia, please (0, Troll)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 3 years ago | (#33482246)

Wait. They consider traditional newspapers a reliable source? I haven't had a chance to laugh today, but that was great.

Re:Fix Wikipedia, please (2, Insightful)

penguinchris (1020961) | more than 3 years ago | (#33481542)

I think mangu's point is that the parent's assertion that the gulf was created by a hotspot is incorrect, if you believe what's in the well-cited Wikipedia article.

(I'm a geologist, and while I don't know much specifically about the gulf, I'm pretty sure Wikipedia is right here).

Re:Fix Wikipedia, please (3, Informative)

toastar (573882) | more than 3 years ago | (#33483052)

or I could just cite Actual peer reviewed work:
http://aapgbull.geoscienceworld.org/cgi/content/abstract/89/3/311

Re:Gulf of Mexico (2, Informative)

thomst (1640045) | more than 3 years ago | (#33480890)

A lot of people don't realize the gulf of mexico was formed by a giant hot spot like yellowstone.

Unless it wasn't [aapg.org] (pdf).

Re:Gulf of Mexico (1)

h4nk (1236654) | more than 3 years ago | (#33482016)

I have always considered this to be true. I have never even heard of a theory stating a Hotspot as being the origin.

Re:Gulf of Mexico (1)

pspahn (1175617) | more than 3 years ago | (#33483246)

I am not an expert. I am just a person.

Yet, it seems that an obvious explanation for at lease some of the Gulf's formation would be due to hurricanes. I would imagine that an immense amount of erosion has occurred due to storms hitting the shoreline over millions of years.

Re:Gulf of Mexico (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33483322)

Ya ....the hot-spot you refer to is a big ... meteor ...!!!!

Re:Gulf of Mexico (1)

toastar (573882) | more than 3 years ago | (#33483436)

Except hotspots have forced apart other plates.

This theory never really made since, How many other impacts cause this kinda of geomorpholgy?
Plus this idea was put forth before the discovery of the hotspot off the Yucatan. [geoscienceworld.org]

While I'm not discounting that the asteroid in question most likely cause an extinction event, I doubt it could rip a plate in two.

Also Just about every Tectonic model puts the formation of the Gulf starting to tear apart around Early Jurassic , Whereas the impact in question was around the Late Permian.

Re:Gulf of Mexico (0, Flamebait)

thomst (1640045) | more than 3 years ago | (#33485540)

Also Just about every Tectonic model puts the formation of the Gulf starting to tear apart around Early Jurassic , Whereas the impact in question was around the Late Permian.

The Gulf of Mexico did not exist until the end of the Permian. Afterwards, there is a Gulf-sized hole in Pangaea, and, later, in Gondwanaland, as well.

I hope I'm not the only one. (5, Funny)

CaptainNerdCave (982411) | more than 3 years ago | (#33480562)

Did anyone else read the headline and think, "Great, another ridiculous claim about the damage being wreaked by wireless network signals"?

Re:I hope I'm not the only one. (0)

DarkKnightRadick (268025) | more than 3 years ago | (#33480642)

I know I sure didn't.

Re:I hope I'm not the only one. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33480672)

This lucky journalist was able bring you the latest comment from the Hot Spot regarding to this revelation. The Spot commented: "I'm in your mantles, halving your plates!" This deep, involved comment was brought to You by Your very favorite journalist, signing off from deep beneath Earth's surface.

Re:I hope I'm not the only one. (1)

flowwolf (1824892) | more than 3 years ago | (#33480684)

WiFi caused Romer's gap

Re:I hope I'm not the only one. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33480850)

Nope, the headline being meaningless gibberish, I thought it was an article about alphabet salad.

Re:I hope I'm not the only one. (3, Funny)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 3 years ago | (#33480900)

I wish. First I misread the title and thought yogi bear was skateboarding in the pacific and "shredding some wicked air." Then I though "WE ALL GONNA DIE!!!" Then I thought about eating some more pringles. Forgot to take my medication today. What were we talking about?

Re:I hope I'm not the only one. (1)

gollito (980620) | more than 3 years ago | (#33482418)

Nope, I had to read it twice before I got it

Re:I hope I'm not the only one. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33491860)

No, I thought it was about Global Warming(tm)

SyFy disaster movie or it didn't happen (-1, Troll)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 3 years ago | (#33480662)

What's Kristy Swanson doing these days?

Flood basalts (5, Interesting)

Ol Biscuitbarrel (1859702) | more than 3 years ago | (#33480728)

The author seems to imply that the Columbia River Basalts were generated by the mantle plume, a supposition that isn't in the paper's abstract. Far as I know the jury's still out there. Here's a pdf [berkeley.edu] of a 2007 paper covering the same topic; or, if that won't open for you like it isn't for me at the moment, here's the Google Quick View version [google.com] .

Re:Flood basalts (5, Interesting)

khallow (566160) | more than 3 years ago | (#33480854)

The author seems to imply that the Columbia River Basalts were generated by the mantle plume

That seems very reasonable given that at one point the two nearly coincide in position and time (cospatial and contempory) about 16-17 million years ago. Given this new information, I think we have a variety of reasonable guesses for how a hotspot can generate both a sequence of massive basalt floods and the lesser, but still substantial volcanic activity since. First, it is possible that most of the Columbia River basalts don't come from the hotspot itself, but instead come from melting of the fragment of plate that broke off, the lighter part of the melt may well have returned to the surface along the path cut by the hotspot's plume. Or the plate may have held back a significant amount of the plume, releasing a large bubble of magma at once.

Sure, the jury is still out, but we have an interesting model that may explain a number of mysteries of the western US such as the origin of the Columbia Plateau basalt floods, the basin and range development of the Nevada area, and the anomalous acceleration of the North American plate during this time.

Re:Flood basalts (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33481254)

It's a reasonable hypothesis. There is a track of age-progressive volcanism from the Columbia River Basalts to the Snake River Plain, leading up to Yellowstone today. I know there are legitimate questions about it, but it's certainly a coincidence in timing and location if the Columbia River Basalts *don't* have something to do with the hotspot that is now thought to be beneath Yellowstone. Geologists would have to come up with some other explanation for the large amount of melt generated in the mantle to produce the Columbia River Basalts.

There have been questions about the nature of hotspots generally for long time (some people question whether they really exist -- hotspots certainly are hard to image geophysically), but the fact that *something* seems to leave a trail of volcanic centers across both continents and ocean floor that varies in age along the track is pretty consistent with something unusual happening in the mantle underneath. A good example is the trail of kimberlite pipes across northern Ontario [nrcan.gc.ca] (the ones east of Timmins), intrusives in southern Québec (the Monteregian Hills [wikipedia.org] ), the intrusives in the White Mountains [wikipedia.org] in Vermont & New Hampshire, and then the New England Seamounts [wikipedia.org] offshore, until the trail [wikipedia.org] hops across the spreading ridge to the African side of the plate. That's a pretty persistent trail of volcanism, and there are plenty of other examples, some of which are also associated with flood basalt volcanism like the Columbia River Plateau.

Re:Flood basalts (2, Interesting)

Mspangler (770054) | more than 3 years ago | (#33481530)

I hope they fixed the paper; the map in the quickview version has the Great Salt Lake in Colorado, and Utah just south of Oregon. The text talks about Nevada, but someone messed up the map.

Re:Flood basalts (1)

Ol Biscuitbarrel (1859702) | more than 3 years ago | (#33484788)

The state lines are there, it's just that the pink coloration for the CRBG has mostly obscured them, particularly the one between Idaho and Oregon, creating the impression that the latter stretches all the way to Wyoming. Wish the author had included more images.

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boeing, boeing, gone.

So... (2, Funny)

digitig (1056110) | more than 3 years ago | (#33480802)

The East will rise again!

Great, just great. (4, Funny)

pedantic bore (740196) | more than 3 years ago | (#33480844)

I was hoping for a quiet weekend at home, and now it looks like I'll have to deal with an apocalyptic volcano that's going around breaking plates, wearing an ultra hot mantle.

Great.

Re:Great, just great. (5, Funny)

game kid (805301) | more than 3 years ago | (#33481280)

You thought your life was going well, but you were just rearranging deck chairs on the Tectonic all along.

Re:Great, just great. (1)

pregister (443318) | more than 3 years ago | (#33481506)

Posting to remove a screwed up moderation.

Re:Great, just great. (1)

pedantic bore (740196) | more than 3 years ago | (#33482336)

Good one!

f you? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33480986)

f you too!

Colonize the Solar System (0, Offtopic)

turbotroll (1378271) | more than 3 years ago | (#33481018)

Colonization of the Solar System (to begin with) is a prerequisite for human kind to survive major cataclysms on Earth and should be undertaken before it is too late. Even Stephen Hawking [foxnews.com] endorses such an opinion.

Re:Colonize the Solar System (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33481106)

Good luck getting the parts of humanity that matter (the governments, the military and sad to say it... the religious nutjobs) to realize that everyone needs to start understanding we're one race instead of individual continents. Until then, we ain't going nowhere.... ya'hear?

Although, when worst comes to worst, we can just build giant boats and pray that John Cusack will say the day. Again. Seriously, he did a bang-up job in that mock-up of the end of humanity..... why couldn't he do it for real?

Meh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33481392)

By the time we can colonize Mars, we can deal with large scale natural catastrophes on earth.

The conditions on Earth after a Yellowstone eruption would still be a lot easier to deal with than the conditions on Mars now.

Of course, by the time we can deal with every imaginable catastrophe on earth, colonizing Mars might become a lot easier than it is now.

Man discoverynews is getting hostile (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33481178)

To take an exerpt from the exerpt "f you thought". Yeah f thought. Who thinks anymore.

Very cool, but article exaggerates to sound cooler (5, Informative)

penguinchris (1020961) | more than 3 years ago | (#33481584)

If you look at the illustration in the article (and I assume in the original paper, I have access but have to login to a vpn and so on, I will see later since I'm interested), it's quite clear what happened and it's really not what you might think when you hear it "shredded" a tectonic plate. I think what's being implied is that it shredded the plate at the surface, but it happened far underground, in the mantle.

As the subducting plate subducts, it goes down into the mantle and in this case the mantle plume weakened it (by getting into fractures or whatever) and broke it off. So the slab disappears down into the mantle eventually (though these can stick around for years, detached). It's very interesting, but the same thing often happens without being cut off by a mantle plume. It's more or less a guaranteed result in a subduction zone, because the subducting slab isn't strong enough to support its own weight pulling on it after a certain point. Makes absolute sense if you look at a diagram of how subduction works.

Subducting slabs can also be cut off by things like strike-slip faults, which IIRC happened in northern California as a result of the San Andreas (don't quote me on that though). You can see the slabs in the mantle by various imaging techniques.

IAAGGS

Re:Very cool, but article exaggerates to sound coo (1)

osu-neko (2604) | more than 3 years ago | (#33482328)

I think what's being implied is that it shredded the plate at the surface...

Why do you think that? That sounds like the opposite of what the article says. Sounds more like you misread what it said...

Re:Very cool, but article exaggerates to sound coo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33482734)

Subducting slabs can also be cut off by things like strike-slip faults, which IIRC happened in northern California as a result of the San Andreas ...

I'm not sure - I'll have to watch Superman (1978) again and get back to you.

Whats the worst that could happen? (2, Insightful)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 3 years ago | (#33481586)

Considering that they are talking there about ~20 millon years, could be as dramatic as the slow, gradual, taking millon years appearence of a new ocean in the middle of africa. Could eventually lead to a different world? probably. But could lead to catastrophic events per se, in the next i.e. 10000 years ? Don't think so... well, unless the supervolcano there decides to explode pretty soon, and that have any chance to make things even worse.

Re:Whats the worst that could happen? (1)

CAIMLAS (41445) | more than 3 years ago | (#33481846)

You make light of this. This is seriously problematic for us immortals.

Re:Whats the worst that could happen? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33482304)

Yeah, all kinds o scheduling problems. When and where you and Emo McCloud fight for the prize if it's not on the edge of that supervolcano as it errupts?

Yellowstone Geothermal Energy (1)

FathomIT (464334) | more than 3 years ago | (#33482394)

How come places like Iceland are able to tap into this type of energy and Americans barely seem to recognize it? Yellowstone should be tapped.

Re:Yellowstone Geothermal Energy (1)

Ol Biscuitbarrel (1859702) | more than 3 years ago | (#33483966)

Eh, exploitation at the Geysers in CA has resulted in increased seismicity. I'd really want to take care before tapping into Yellowstone - eruptions in the past have dumped up to a foot of ash as far away as Iowa. [blogspot.com] Other problem with generating juice in Yellowstone is that it's quite a ways away from the intended customers, so you'd need a mess of transmission lines to get it where it's going. Geothermal energy: too dangerous? - SmartPlanet [smartplanet.com]

Yellowstone National Park (2, Informative)

calidoscope (312571) | more than 3 years ago | (#33486082)

One problem with tapping Yellowstone is that the geothermal fields are almost entirely within Park boundaries. Do keep in mind that the reason for Yellowstone becoming the world's first national park was to preserve it by preventing development.

Re:Yellowstone National Park (1)

randyleepublic (1286320) | more than 3 years ago | (#33493234)

So, how much did Rockefeller donate to make that happen??? Hmmm?

Funny thing... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33487630)

How this new evidence gives more weight to the Growing Earth Theory. Or maybe they already have taken things like this into account when tracing back the tectonic plate drifts. After all, it has to happen quite often during a few billion years.

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