Disaster

mary bay

Mary Bay on Yellowstone Lake, Yellowstone National Park – Photo Credit: Yellowstone Vacation Blog

“It’s so serene here. I’m having a hard time believing you’e right, Craig.” Geologist Joanne Palmer looked out over Yellowstone Lake from Mary Bay, which was thought to have been created sometime in the last 14,000 years by a Hydrothermal explosion. It was a favorite spot for Park tourists and reminded her of family vacations with Mom and Dad.

“Most people worry about the next volcanic eruption but hydrothermals occur independently. Data from our experimental geosensor device says just about all of southern Idaho and eastern Wyoming will have to be evacuated within the next 12 to 18 months.”

“Are you sure? I mean, displacing millions of people…what if we’re wrong?”

“What if we’re right and don’t say anything about it, Joanne? We work for the U.S. Geological Survey. We have a responsibility…”

“I know. We have to tell America that the next Armageddon will be happening right in their own backyard.”

yellowstone hot spot

Location of the Yellowstone Hotspot. Numbers indicate the time of the eruption, in millions of years ago – Found at Wikipedia.

I wrote this for the What Pegman Saw writing challenge. The idea is to use a Google maps image and/or location as the inspiration for creating a piece of flash fiction no more than 150 words long. My word count is 150.

Today, the Pegman takes us to Yellowstone National Park. I live in southwestern Idaho which isn’t all that far from Yellowstone, but I remember it mainly from all the vacations my family took there when I was young. It’s fabulous place with lots of interesting features.

Of course, the idea of having a supervolcano in your own backyard is a fun idea, but I discovered that hydrothermal explosions are also a thing, so I decided to create a mini-disaster story based on them. I also found a map tracking the Yellowstone “hot spot” over the last 16 million years and saw that it “traveled” all across southern Idaho. What if it all went up along that track at once?

To read other stories based on the prompt, go to InLinkz.com.

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23 thoughts on “Disaster

  1. This wonderfully captures the looming catastrophe. Every time I hear about a cluster of earthquakes out there, or come across some article about how the ground is swelling from the magma chamber, I wonder just how close we are to such a disaster. It could be 60,000 more years. Or, it could be tomorrow. Here’s to hoping it’s 60,000 years!

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    • I don’t think the next big disaster coming out of Yellowstone is imminent. That’s the stuff of disaster movies. However, it is “fun” to think about from the security of it (most likely) being 60,000 years away.

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  2. Mother Earth is just biding her time. I’m waiting for the Cascadia earthquake along the Washington Coast. Well, not exactly waiting for it…. Hopefully, someone will warn us, but then what shall we do?

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    • To the best of my knowledge, no one has learned how to predict earthquakes. I’ve lived in both the SF Bay Area and Southern California and I’ve been through my share of them. Technically, Idaho can get earthquakes, but the last really bad one was in the eastern part of the state in 1971. They’re really rare here so unless Yellowstone blows its top, I feel fairly save.

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  3. Nice one! I was tempted to write a looming disaster story too but didn’t in the end. It’s quite something knowing there’s such an area sitting in the heart of America.

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