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Life and Death in a Caldera

Life and Death in a Caldera

Posted: 01/18/17

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In the caldera of a super-volcano, nothing is secure but the inevitability of disruption, upheaval and reordering, whether on scales of seconds and inches as scalding steam hits a bug or plant, or every 600,000 years in a series of blasts the likes of which mankind hasn’t witnessed. In between those scales, over years to decades, we see the landscapes and waterscapes of Yellowstone palpably shuffled by collusions between forces studied in hydrology, geology and meteorology. New forests grow on scarred land abandoned by the processes that charred it. Then as here, a searing newer effluent wreaks death, tattooed by fire as if for the sake of affirmation. Yet even in these hot mineral waters, hardy microbial life dwells, in defiance of conditions otherwise inhospitable to survival.


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