Some days I wake up worried about the world. What if work doesn’t go well today? What if my kids have trouble in school? What if Yellowstone explodes?
Beneath Yellowstone, so they tell me, is a huge bubble of magma—molten lava—which could burst someday and destroy us all; someday being any of the days in the next 10,000 years or more. But you never know, today could be the day!
The explosion happened before, a million years ago, which is why northwest Power County is covered in lava rock. (Fact: lava rock is sometimes also known as “aa,” a Hawaiian word that means “the sound people make when walking across lava rock barefoot.” Mostly, it is a very useful word when playing Scrabble.)
Scientists don’t really think Yellowstone is going to explode any time soon, but that didn’t stop The Smithsonian from making a documentary suggesting it probably would. Nothing makes a relaxing evening like watching a documentary on your impending doom.
After each prediction of just how much damage such an explosion would cause, there would be an ominous sound, added by the documentary’s sound engineer, that sounded like someone flinging ball bearings around the inside of a metal barrel.
They might of overused it slightly, like the time the documentary showed buffalo, followed with music so creepy you would think the buffalo were giant aliens intent on melding our minds.
My wife also uses this sound for receiving text messages on her cell phone. This gives our lives a certain amount of intrigue. “Who is texting us?” we ponder as we move toward the phone. “Is it the grim reaper, or is it (gulp) grandma?!”
They should have used the sound over the opening credits, when the narrator suggested the explosion might be based on actual fact. That way we might have known it was the documentary, and not us, doomed for oblivion.
According to the Yellowstone website, most scientists don’t think that Yellowstone is going to explode any time soon, and they should be able to warn people well in advance. Of course, the Yellowstone people don’t want us to think the park is going to explode. That would definitely discourage tourism.
And it is not that any warning would help. According to the documentary, there are different zones around the volcano if it exploded, starting with “where everyone dies immediately” and then moving up to “where everyone dies almost immediately, but suffers for a minute.” We are on the edge of the “dying almost immediately zone” and the “dying after being covered with eight feet of ash” zone.
But it didn’t end there. Ash would be dropped from here to St. Louis, temperatures would plummet, and poisonous gas would be released into the atmosphere. Maybe that’s what happened to the dinosaurs.
Anyway, the documentary gave me just one more thing to worry about that I have no control over. Now I just hope that Yellowstone explodes before the buffalo can meld my mind.
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