Category Archives: Books
The Valles Caldera is Only Dormant
By G G Collins (Copyright 2021)
Excerpt from Anasazi Medium, Chapter 8
Yellowstone isn’t the only supervolcano in the United States. The Valles Caldera is located in northern New Mexico in close proximity to the Los Alamos National Labs (LANL) and the Rio Grande. An eruption from the dormant, but not extinct, volcano could cause significant interruptions to life or extinguish life depending on the force of the eruption. Some of you will recognize the Valles Caldera as the location of the Longmire sheriff’s ranch.
Images, except the above, are from the New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science.
We pick up with an interview which journalist Rachel Blackstone is having with character Professor Axel Saxon at the University of New Mexico, Earth and Planetary Science. We join them with the interview already in progress.
“How dangerous is the Valles Caldera?” Rachel asked.
“It is considered a young supervolcano in that it erupted 1.25 million years ago. It’s geothermal and responsible for the hot springs that populate the area. We also know it is dormant, not extinct. The caldera is about 20 kilometres or 13 miles wide. A supervolcano isn’t one eruption, but multiple eruptions occurring at once. When the volcanic pressure cooker just can’t take anymore and it releases pent up energy in many places.”
He showed Rachel another map showing the resurgent lava dome, called Redondo Peak, and the smaller domes around it.
“If it were to erupt again,” Rachel asked. “What force are we talking about?”
“Supervolcanoes have an eruption of magnitude eight,” Saxon paused. “That’s the largest on the VEI or Volcanic Explosivity Index.”
“So this type of eruption really isn’t within our experience in the near past?” Rachel asked.
“No. You’ve heard of Pinatubo, Krakatau and a U.S. volcano called Mount St. Helens?”
“These are inconsequential by comparison to the Valles Caldera. Even Crater Lake and Tambora are smaller. Only the Yellowstone supervolcano is larger.”
“Are you aware that the last time the Yellowstone erupted that ash and dead animal bones were found as far away as Nebraska? The three Yellowstone eruptions we know about produced enough ash to fill the Grand Canyon and were 2500 times larger than the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens. Today, if Yellowstone went off it would immediately kill 90,000 people. Those not dead would be standing calf-deep in ash. The nuclear winter to follow could cause famine as the great breadbasket of the world, the States, would likely not be able to grow much.”
“What would the results be of a Valles Caldera eruption?” Rachel asked.
“First there would be the ash fallout to consider. Not only would any planes in the area be at risk of losing engine performance and therefore crash, but water contamination could result and rooftop collapse. That is especially a problem for flat roofs that can be found all over our area, but especially prominent in Santa Fe due to the Pueblo architecture.
Tent Rocks (Kasha-Katuwe) was created with volcanic ash fallout, perhaps 1/4 mile thick. Enough to have cooked a moderate-sized city.
“Agriculture would be adversely affected, maybe not even possible. Livestock would become ill and die from breathing the ash and gases.
“People would also experience health issues and some, maybe many, would die. It would depend on the size of the eruption.
Notice the proximity of Los Alamos (LANL) to the Valles Caldera.
“We don’t even know how it would affect power-producing plants. And yes, we don’t know if the damage to the LANL would be sufficient to release plutonium and other nuclear materials into the air. If so, that could be cataclysmic in terms of loss of life.
“As to the influence on the country and the world; again, depending on the size of eruption, it could bring about the nuclear winter where ash would block the sun and make agriculture impossible. And this brings me to the most lasting product of supervolcanoes: worldwide famine, millions—maybe billions—of refugees, satellite disruption and the crash of world financial markets.”
“Good god,” Rachel said. “All because a New Mexico volcano wakes up.”
Buy Anasazi Medium at: https://amzn.to/3cHlUEA
Thanks for reading.
A Journey Through Time, Space and Emotions
By G G Collins Copyright 2020
Quantum Singularity: A Poetic Voyage Through Time and Space is unlike any book of poetry I’ve read. Each section or phase is summed up with a physics term. From accretion to event horizon, there are nuggets of truth, disappointment, everywoman knowledge and a sprinkling of felines.
In “Treasure Hunt,” Croft talks about “the luxury of sorrow” using colors that “cast no shadows.” Appropriate for the season is “A Letter to My Something More.” In it, she discusses how the media models our expected behavior, “’Tis the season to be thankful even if it’s artificial.” But, is that what the verse is really about? You decide.
Much as in life, there is pain and revulsion. “Evolution” is a powerful piece: “… the thousand hands/grabbing my ass/a pretty dress worn why?” Most women have experienced this trauma and wondered why they even bothered to be pretty. What was the point? “Wish List” expands on disappointment, “Draw me a map to a better life … Because dreams and hopes are not enough.”
See if you recognize your life in these pages. Like all good writers, Croft takes us places we haven’t been and brings meaning where we didn’t expect it.
To purchase, click on the book cover or: https://www.amazon.com/Quantum-Singularity-Poetic-Voyage-Through-ebook/dp/B073S8PXN5/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=Quantum+Singularity+Willow+Croft&qid=1605300148&s=books&sr=1-1
The Pain of Learning Your Friend Has Early Onset Dementia
by G G Collins Copyright 2020
When my incredibly smart and talented friend told me she had early onset dementia, I didn’t know what to think except I was suddenly very afraid for her and wanted to protect her. In her gentle way, she tried to tell me it would be okay. Okay?! How could anything this devastating be okay?
She methodically told me what was going to happen in a detached way as though she were talking about someone else. The disease would first take her memory and then turn her into a combative, maybe violent sick person. She had already lost interest in using her computer and cell phone. And worse, she had been fired for messing up a work project.
This was the last time I would see her because she had to give up driving, having gotten lost several times already, and she wanted me to remember her as she is now. But she told me she would love me for eternity even if she didn’t remember me. I’m sitting there listening in horror and wondering how this could happen to my vibrant, loving friend of 20-some years who could do anything.
As someone who works with words for a living, I tried to come up with words to reassure her, reassure me, stop this from happening. But there are no words for anything so horrible. And how do you change the subject from this to how pretty the fall foliage is? She tried and I tried, but I couldn’t think of anything else but I was losing my friend forever. She had absorbed some of the implications already while I was staggering around thinking of the unfairness and the loss that was coming, was already here. And then we hugged for the last time and said, “See you later,” knowing it wasn’t true.
She went home to ride out the gathering storm and I drove home fighting tears, already grieving her impending loss.
For more information: https://www.alz.org/alzheimers-dementia/what-is-alzheimers/younger-early-onset
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