In the wake of ongoing seismic disturbances at Yellowstone, NASA scientists have suggested a drastic solution that they admit may actually set off the globally threatening catastrophe they are trying to prevent. One rabbi, steeped in knowledge of the Bible, suggested the scientists take a good look at their methods and try a more spiritual approach.
As tens of thousands of people gathered in Yellowstone National Park Monday morning to witness the once-in-a-century solar eclipse, the area was hit by a 3.2 magnitude earthquake. This recent tremor, though not large, is part of an ongoing series of quakes that began June 12. Experts believed the unusually large swarm of earthquakes would gradually die down but by the beginning of August, over 1,400 minor tremors had been recorded at the site.
Jamie Farrell at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City told New Scientist, “This is a large swarm but it is not the largest swarm we’ve recorded in Yellowstone. Earthquake swarms are fairly common in Yellowstone.”
However, Monday’s tremor, following a 2.5 magnitude quake at 7:23 PM Sunday night, indicates that the earthshaking problem is unlikely to simply go away. Should the supervolcano erupt, the threat to the Earth, said NASA scientist Brian Wilcox, “is substantially greater than the asteroid or comet threat.”
As a result, scientists are investigating how to cool off the seismic hotspot in order to prevent a catastrophic super-eruption.
NASA announced this week that it is working on plans to drill six miles down into the volcanically active region and pump water into the magma at high pressures. The water would return to the surface at 662 degrees Fahrenheit, bringing some of the volcano’s heat with it. The project is massive, estimated to cost $3.46 billion, and admittedly risky.
“The most important thing with this is to do no harm,” Wilcox, a researcher NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory at the California Institute of Technology, told the BBC. “If you drill into the top of the magma chamber and try and cool it from there, this would be very risky. This could make the cap over the magma chamber more brittle and prone to fracture. And you might trigger the release of harmful volatile gases in the magma at the top of the chamber which would otherwise not be released.”
But the NASA scientists working on the project are convinced that Yellowstone poses enough of a threat that they are willing to risk setting off an eruption.
While the scientists tinker with the supervolcano, Rabbi Rami Levy, a well-known kabbalist from Jerusalem, was skeptical of their plan to save the world.
“Science is wonderful, but it is wrong to think it does not have limits,” Rabbi Levy told Breaking Israel News. “So many times, scientists have said one thing and then the year after told us something that totally contradicts that.”
The rabbi explained that earthquakes are an inevitable and unavoidable part of the End of Days, quoting the prophet Jeremiah.
I looked at the earth, and it was formless and empty; and at the heavens, and their light was gone. I looked at the mountains, and they were quaking; all the hills were swaying. I looked, and there were no people; every bird in the sky had flown away… Jeremiah 4:23-28
Rabbi Levy stated that in many cases, science has portrayed itself as the savior while attempting to solve problems it had actually created. In the case of Yellowstone, the rabbi advised the scientists to delve into the prophetic writings of the Bible.
“This earthquake and volcanic eruption were explicitly described in the Bible,” Rabbi Levy said. “Now that scientists are finally realizing that it will happen, wouldn’t it be wise to look into the Bible for the solution?”
The answer, he said, is simple but unscientific: “Tshuva (repentance). According to Jewish tradition, it was created before the world so it can supercede nature.”
The Yellowstone caldera is only one of approximately 20 known supervolcanoes that threaten the Earth. The dangers from a large eruption are far greater than those posed to the immediate vicinity by magma and ash. An eruption at Yellowstone would spew abrasive ash into the atmosphere, covering fifteen states and preventing airplanes from flying over the central United States for several months.
The greatest threat from an eruption in the agricultural heartland of America would be from starvation. Prolonged volcanic winter could potentially prohibit the US and other countries from having enough food for the current population.
Some scientists insist the chances of a catastrophic eruption at the Yellowstone caldera is extremely unlikely, one in 730,000, but the NASA scientists disagree.
“Yellowstone explodes roughly every 600,000 years, and it is about 600,000 years since it last exploded, which should cause us to sit up and take notice,” Wilcox said.