What is Big Think?  

We are Big Idea Hunters…

We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.

A word about Big Ideas and Themes — The architecture of Big Think

Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

Big Think Features:

12,000+ Expert Videos

1

Browse videos featuring experts across a wide range of disciplines, from personal health to business leadership to neuroscience.

Watch videos

World Renowned Bloggers

2

Big Think’s contributors offer expert analysis of the big ideas behind the news.

Go to blogs

Big Think Edge

3

Big Think’s Edge learning platform for career mentorship and professional development provides engaging and actionable courses delivered by the people who are shaping our future.

Find out more
Close

The Yellowstone Earthquake Swarm of 2010 marches on

February 3, 2010, 3:56 AM


Steaming, gurgling mudpots in the active hydrothermal system of Yellowstone.

For those of you following Yellowstone (I think there might be a few of you), I've plotted up the earthquakes since 1/27 (see below) - and sure enough, although there is a lot of scatter, they are getting shallower - however what this exactly means is unclear. You can see my plots from 1/22-28 here. As many of you have mentioned, a caldera like Yellowstone is a big interconnected system, so a solely tectonic source of this is still possible as the displacement migrates through the fractured caldera rocks.

Yellowstone.jpg
UPDATED: Now with error bars! The line divides the well constrained (to left) from the poorly constrained (to right).

This all being said, YVO's current status statement still reads:

" At this time, YVO scientists and their collaborators have detected no anomalous ground deformation, strain, or increased thermal activity that could indicate precursory activity to phenomena such as steam explosions or volcanic eruptions. As such, the Volcanic Alert Level remains at Normal (Aviation Color Code of Green)."

So, again, without abundant evidence to suggest otherwise, the swarm has shown no indications that this is magma related. The earthquakes are shallower right now, but again, we need to look at this information with an abundance of caution. YVO posted yesterday a summary of the current earthquake swarm and an brief history of swarms to put this one in context along with a description of all the monitoring that occurs at Yellowstone - so if you are concerned about the swarm, be sure to check it out. This caldera is not solely a magmatic feature - the process of caldera-forming itself involves breaking the crust along a ring fracture. This means that the area is littered with thousands (millions?) of fault systems related to the caldera. Trust me, I'd be fascinated by the idea that a new dome might be erupting at Yellowstone (i.e., NOT A SUPERVOLCANIC ERUPTION), which is the mostly likely scenario, but until the evidence tells me otherwise, this doesn't look like it.

 

The Yellowstone Earthquake ...

Newsletter: Share: