Kiss Your Ash Goodbye: The Yellowstone Supervolcano, Part III, A Vulcanology Primer – By Stephanie Osborn

*Sorry, particularly to Stephanie, for being so late with this.  The morning went slightly sideways is all.  Nothing bad, just got distracted. – SAH*

Kiss Your Ash Goodbye: The Yellowstone Supervolcano, Part III, A Vulcanology Primer – By Stephanie Osborn

Excerpted from Kiss Your Ash Goodbye: The Yellowstone Supervolcano, © 2018

http://www.stephanie-osborn.com

Images in this article are public domain unless otherwise noted.

The Yellowstone Hotspot and Structure

NOTE: I am aware that there is current research claiming that the subducted Farallon Plate is the source of the Yellowstone melt, as well as its long-lived behavior and track. However, based on what I know, I am skeptical.

For now, in the absence of more definitive results, and given the fact that the ancient plate is now pretty much crammed almost as far under the eastern North American plate as it can get and still be under it, and given detailed information on a mantle plume of some substantial size, it is my considered opinion that more than likely, the Farallon Plate had only marginal, if any, effects on Yellowstone. That said, it may possibly be at least part of the reason why said mantle plume is anything but vertical. (I do discuss all this in a bit more detail in the ebook.)

I also note that the current accepted model is “mantle hotspot,” with plenty of data to support it. If that should change, I will add an update.

Overview

The Yellowstone supervolcano is a very long-lived system. Unlike most more ordinary volcanoes, which are supplied with magma via such relatively shallow means as tectonic plate subduction and subsequent melting, Yellowstone is apparently produced by a large and powerful mantle plume; the reason for the plume is unknown. As the melt in the plume rises, it pushes on the overlying crust, “puddling” in a weakness in the overlying rock, forming a magma chamber. This pressure first forms a bulge (a “dome”), then the crust of the bulge begins to crack (surface cracks). If these cracks deepen enough to reach the magma chamber, an eruption can occur. They are also responsible for the hydrothermal features seen in the national park.

 

The Plume

The mantle plume goes down at least 600mi (~966km), but recent seismic evidence discovered by researchers at the University of Texas indicates it may go as far down as the outer core/mantle boundary, some 1,800mi (~2,900km) down. The plume apparently angles sharply south-southwest from the megacaldera, and the base of the plume can be found under the California/Mexico border. It is very roughly cylindrical; early estimates indicated it was some 215-300mi (346-483km) in diameter, but more recent estimates say it is at least 400mi (644km) wide. It is 2,050mi (3,300km) long, and up to 1,500ºF (816ºC) at the base, near the core.

 

The Magma Chambers

There are a couple of different reconstructions from seismic & other data that indicate the possible shape & size of the magma chamber. More, seismic tomography indicates there are TWO, a shallow and a deep chamber, with the deep chamber likely directly linked to the mantle plume.

magma

The deep magma chamber, connected to the upper mantle plume.

Note state lines and park/caldera outlines on top and bottom of cube, for scale.

Credit: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091214075225.htm

According to the USGS, “The shallower magma storage region is about 90km (56mi) long, [and] extends from 5-17km (3-10.5mi) depth.”

In turn, and from the same source, “The deeper magma storage region extends from 20-50km (12-31mi) depth, contains about 2% melt, and is about 4.5 times larger than the shallow magma body.”

If we assume — based on those measurements — average values for length, width, and height, such that the smaller chamber is a rough prolate ellipsoid of approximate dimension 7.5×7.5x56mi (12x12x90km), then it has a rough volume of ~13,000cu. mi. (~54,000km3). This then gives a volume for the deeper chamber of 58,500cu. mi. (~244,000km3).

However, as it turns out, generally speaking, magma chambers don’t induce eruption until they have surpassed the 50%-full mark. And that’s a whole heck of a lot of magma, AND we’re only at 2%. On general principles, I think we’re good.

The Geysers/Hydrothermal Features

The geysers, hot springs, mud pots, fumaroles, and the like are fed by ancient rain- and meltwaters — the local ground water, in essence, except it is often coming from depth — that seep through the network of cracks and fractures in the rock. They are heated by the chambers and gradually rise, eventually forcing their way to the surface to form geysers and all the other hydrothermal features common to Yellowstone and other such similar volcanic landscapes.

Riverside

Riverside Geyser. Credit: National Park Service.

fumarole

A fumarole (steam vent) field in Yellowstone, where dangerously superheated steam emerges in the geyser basins. Credit: National Park Service /Jim Peaco

 

WARNING: most of the hydrothermal features in Yellowstone, and other active megacalderas, are DANGEROUSLY HOT. Not infrequently, these are superheated waters, meaning their temperatures may well be above the boiling temperature of water; this is especially true for geysers and fumaroles, but many — most — hot springs are also near boiling. More, at least at Yellowstone, they also are prone to being highly acidic. It is NOT AN EXAGGERATION in the least to say that entering one of these features means an instant, horrible death; it has happened many times. Worse, sometimes bodies are not recovered, simply because the water has become strongly acidic thanks to the sulfuric gases dissolved in it; the corpses simply dissolve. When the bodies are recovered, they are often in very poor condition. DO NOT EVEN THINK OF TRYING to use one as your personal hot tub, and DO NOT LEAVE THE TRAILS/WALKWAYS, because the high mineral content can form what LOOKS like solid ground, but is really a skim of mineral deposits floating on the water’s surface.

 

Is There Any Danger of Eruption?

Yes, because this is an active volcanic feature; there has been some uplift in areas of the park, especially under the lake, but given the nature of the feature, and the high levels of seismic activity that occur there normally, that isn’t necessarily anything to worry about. The “uplift” feature on the lake floor seems to be part of an underwater field of hydrothermal vents, fissures and faults, not unlike those found on ocean floors, so it is likely that the uplift is a result of gases and expanding hot water underneath. Certainly a good deal of the seismic activity in and around the caldera has to do with this same hydrothermal activity; this expansion, when the water is in the natural cracks of a rock stratum, will force the cracks wider until the stone eventually breaks. This fracture does create small quakes.

So-called “quake swarms” in the region are NOT in the correct area to indicate magma on the move. They also don’t have the “long-period harmonic” vibrational component to indicate flowing magma. More, detailed geophysical studies show no evidence of either magma chamber inflating.

 

To obtain a copy of Kiss Your Ash Goodbye: The Yellowstone Supervolcano by Stephanie Osborn, go to: bit.ly/Kin-KYAGTYSV.

118 responses to “Kiss Your Ash Goodbye: The Yellowstone Supervolcano, Part III, A Vulcanology Primer – By Stephanie Osborn

  1. I wonder how many murders have been committed or concealed by dropping the body into one of these hot springs? May be a good basis for a story.

    • From what I recall reading, not as many as you think, although the records only go back to the 1870s. Suicides and stupidity account for a much larger number.

      No Sheep, There I Was… The last time I was up at Yellowstone, I had gotten away from the rest of the family in one of the mud-pots areas and was reading a sign when I saw movement. A toddler was toddling off the walkway and onto the crust between the mudpots! No parent was paying attention, so I grabbed for the kid. He was just close enough that I only had to put one foot off the boardwalk to catch his arm, then gently draw him back onto the path. His parents were several yards away looking at something else. They didn’t understand why I was so angry and scared.

      • Little toddler would have disappeared and they might never have found him.
        * * *
        Was reading responses to Part II; and it seems like so many slabs of subducted plates are down there that in some respects Earth must resemble a damn onion. Layers upon layers upon layers…

        • Simple answer: They melt. Then get mixed up in the mantle’s convection and become one more swirl of material. Though some do get uplifted if subduction zone meets convergent zone. (See SE. Asia.) The result of that strongly depends on how melty things got before they got pushed back up. The melt is also responsible for things like the Allutians, Japan, and the islands of Indonesia and that chain as well as the Andes. Slab goes down. Melts. Now is lighter, works its way back up and Boom! Volcano.

          • In general, yes. But this is why the Farralon Plate puzzles me. It has NOT completely melted and is still in a reasonably coherent big blob, deep in the mantle.

            • BobtheRegisterredFool

              Possibly an argument for lunar impact/etc…? That’d be one way to get part of the surface coated with something of higher melting point.

              That said, I don’t know anywhere near enough about creeping flow mixing to guess whether we could expect that rate of mixing from an melted plate.

              • Nah. Minerals are minerals, apparently the solar system over. Because chemistry. You ain’t gonna get anything different from the Moon (or an asteroid) that wouldn’t be found someplace on/in Earth. (It’s just possible that you could get something on/in an asteroid that is normally only found deep in the Earth, but it would be rare. That sort of thing is usually a phase change forced by the temps/pressures, and it usually phase-changes into something more “normal” when the temps/pressures are released.)

            • Indeed. Almost everything is more complex than we think it is (even when we’re going ‘dang this is complex’). And just about the time we think we have it figured out the Almighty seems to lean back and go “Just you wait… you ain’t seen NOTHIN’ yet.” But it’s fun digging into what’s going on and seeing how it all works. 🙂

            • Suppose the location of a subduction zone is particularly stable, or a sequence of subduction zones keep forming/reforming above a region of downwelling mantle. If there is plenty of ocean crust available to subduct for a few hundreds of millions of years, you could eventually get something like that image of the old Farallon slab. It may have been active through the lifetime of Pangea, as a mid-ocean (Panthalassa Ocean) Marianas type subduction zone, and for maybe 50-100 million years after the breakup began, when North America eventually overran it.

              Eventually, after spending enough time down there, that rock will heat up to match the surrounding mantle. But until recently (geologically recent anyway) there was a continuous conveyor belt of chilled oceanic slab keeping the underlying material from warming up too fast.

        • Given that many volcanic gases are water-soluble, and that when they do so dissolve, they tend to form ionic acids (sulfuric being prominent, but also carbonic and hydrochloric), many bodies simply cease to be. In researching the book, I found NUMEROUS CASES where the bodies had at least partially dissolved. In a few cases, the bodies were just never recovered, because there wasn’t anything left TO recover.

          But no, I did not find any instances where it was used to cover up foul play. Just lots of instances of stupidity. Unfortunately in the most recent instance, the guy’s sister got to watch the whole thing.

          • Well, if you did a really good job, nobody would ever know.

            IIRC, there was a serial killer guy hanging around Yellowstone at one point, but I think he was mostly robbing people’s hotel rooms and then progressing from burglary to rape and murder. Might have been at another park, though.

          • analytical-engine-mechanic

            There’s some support for that “total dissolution” from ah, unsanctioned experiments in similar (but more-controlled) circumstances…

            It’s been a while, but the story I heard had a semi-famous forensic consultant (and I think medical doctor) contacted by one of those evil-idiot-genius criminals. His story was that he’d killed his wife, dropped her in a 55-gallon drum full of sulfuric acid, then tipped it out in his gravel driveway, presto, no body.

            Except the doctor looked carefully at the gravel, where indicated, and after a while found… a gallstone, whose fatty component makes it (relatively) acid resistant. Not a lot of other ways that could have gotten there, and I seem to remember there was a conviction even without *most* of the body.

            (I’ve recently had reason to be reminded Venus’ clouds are, mostly, fairly strong sulfuric acid. Someone might find a story use for that one, sometime…)

            Not nice thoughts/things, but true ones.

            • Oh, there’s no doubt something like that could happen. (Not that I’d want concentrated sulfuric acid sitting around my house, never mind how to neutralize it sufficient to tip it into my driveway?) But there are two differences. 1) The intense heat increases the rate of reaction, and will tend to melt fatty substances, dispersing them. 2) The springs come up under the pools and go quite deep, so any relatively-dense residuals would tend to disappear very deep in the earth.

              • analytical-engine-mechanic

                Oh, yes; I even thought about the heat/reaction rate angle while writing the above. So the end result is, and *very* quickly, LITERALLY no trace of solid anything. Not even if you “sifted through it all with a sieve for the rest of your natural life” (to misquote the estimable Buckaroo Banzai).

                OTOH, those of a *very* peculiar bent might find it an attractive alternative to, say, cremation. Even there I doubt the authorities would approve… in either sense.

                Yuck, eeuw, and double-eeuw!

              • Actually, the whole thing with dissolving people in barrels usually does not work, because the barrel takes surprisingly long times to work with what most criminals can get, and there has been a lot of forensic work on dissolved remains. If the police can find the barrel at all.

                So the value of a spring is that it is a barrel you cannot easily take back to the forensics lab, and you cannot plumb or wash out.

                Still, with natural features, bits of stuff tend to bob up at times inconvenient for criminals.

                • True, and were this a normal stream, I’d say absolutely right. But 1) according to the rangers, there have been cases where there was simply nothing left to ever recover within hours, and 2) it’d be really difficult to even try to recover anything in those conditions, due to the probability that whatever was used to recover would get melted/dissolved/dissipated/etc.

                  Hot acid is truly nasty stuff.

                  So from a practical standpoint, this is a pretty good way to permanently get rid of a body. Not one I’d want to try, thanks to the risk of my joining the victim. But hey.

      • Last time we were there, when we were leaving the boardwalks at the mudpots, someone’s slightly larger kid-7-8?-got burned. Slipped on the damp walk and went off.

        We heard later the kid did not lose body parts, so he was darned lucky. Toddlers should be worn around the thermal features, or maybe just in the park in general: I kept youngest in the backpack. Older kids should hold adult hands.

        Some adult got himself dissolved . . . was it last summer? The feeling around here was very much that he’d deserved it, just as when someone gets gored for trying to pet bison. Much enthusiasm for applied Darwinism from flyover country!

        Nature doesn’t care how woke you are, or how innocent, or how kind, or anything. Nature just is.

        • Our kid was in a kid backpack or harnessed with short leash locked on one of us (mostly me as dad had the camera). That was the 1st time. Kid was 14 months (ish).

          Second trip back had my niece with us too. They were 5. Rules were memorized by them. Which they had to repeat every single time we went into a thermal feature or trails with drop off’s or were observing animals. We were NOT above having them repeat the rules when we saw stupid actions. Nor were they shy about “whispering” “why is that person not on the boardwalk? Isn’t that stupid?” (among other things, but I’d have to dig out the tapes to get quotes).

          Anyone deal with a 5 year-old’s whisper? Pretty sure saw more than a few volunteers & rangers headed toward the guilty party bit lips to keep from laughing. Know more than a few other tourists did, only they just laughed out loud & pointed. Which for 5 year-olds was additional encouragement to keep “whispering”.

          Luckily we never had to witness the consequences of others stupidity.

          • Then you did great.
            Years ago I read a report of a young boy who fell into one of the hot springs. Evidently his facial expression, just before he sank out of sight, was highly revealing of what he felt in his last moments. The mental image has remained in my mind ever since, and I doubt the PGLEIA’s brain bleacher could fully eliminate it.

            • Unable to be brain bleached? I have read that that quality can lead to monumental life and career changes.

            • Yeesh. That’s truly awful. I was two years old when I walked the entire Bumpass Hell trail in Lassen (so named because Bumpass pretty much lost his legs there) and I actually still have a few memories of it. One sense that is there is definitely being a little worried that there weren’t railings, so I guess I’d gotten a thorough grounding in STAY ON THE BOARDWALK from the parents. (I finally got back a few years ago, with a six-year-old, a four-year-old, and a large infant in a pack. I wasn’t in the least bit worried about my kids, because we’d done the safety-through-staying-on-trails in Yosemite earlier that year and they were very obedient to it.)

              • Yes, it was awful. Most of the stories of people who have lost their lives in the things are awful. Some are stupid, some are unfortunate accidents. Some are stupid accidents.

                I suspect that one of the reasons they don’t put rails up is because of the tendency of tourists to do things like leaning on the rails, sitting on the rails, sitting their kids on the rails, etc. when on the other side of the rails could be death. It seems bass-ackwards, but is it better to put up rails and have the tourists think themselves safe enough to climb on them (and then fall over them), or to NOT put up rails, knowing that they will thereby be a tad bit more wary of approaching the edge? (Those that are going to go off the path are going to go off the path regardless, and rail or no rail makes no never-mind.) I don’t actually know the logic, but that’s one of the logic paths I went down, so you’re welcome to chase it too.

                • Actually. That is exactly the reason there are no guard rails along the paths or on the boardwalks. You are told it is dangerous. Putting up barriers implies they are protecting you. No guard rails then the implication is, they can’t protect you; actual quote from a ranger to the 5 years olds already mentioned. Even the board walks are not to protect the public. It is to protect the ground.

                • Considering how corrosive those things are, any rails you put up are likely to disintegrate quickly. Should ask the park how often they have to replace the walkways. I’ll be it’s every 5 years or more frequently.

        • When The Daughter was a toddler we got a harness and leash to use when we went to Pilot Mountain. It worked very well for us.

          (Oh? Yes, it is that one of Andy Griffith fame.  Only the real name of the geographical feature and the town near the foot of it is Pilot Mountain.  A metamorphic quartzite monadnock, it is quite a singular and noticeable feature in the landscape of the upper Piedmont of NC.  Considered part of the Sauratown Mountains it stands alone some distance from the rest of the range.

          https://www.ncparks.gov/pilot-mountain-state-park )

          • Yup, most of the locales in that show were real places, one way or another.

            • There was something about the fact that it was a slow moving Hurricane named Floyd that caused catastrophic flooding in eastern NC … of course the land had already been saturated by massive rains from a menace of a tropical storm named Dennis.

              • ROFL
                Then maybe they should keep an eye out for a storm named Edward…

              • Yeah; weird for tropical systems (any system I guess) to double back on you; we actually got hit twice by Dennis, then Floyd, and a low pressure system. Something like 30 inches of rain in a short span; I want to say two weeks. NOAA did have a comparison between satellite pictures taken before and after Floyd. The rivers were low before (back in July, I think) then Floyd hit in September of 1999.

                Granddaddy farmed and my mother used to quote her father saying “Dry weather will scare you, but wet weather will ruin you.” Sure enough, if water comes up to the eaves of your house like it did in some places (not us, thankfully), that’s ruinous. This wasn’t flash flooding like the couple of inches of water washing over the road we get after two inches of rain when the ground is already soaked; the kind that runs off by the next morning or next afternoon. This was rivers and creeks out of their banks for a half mile or more for two weeks. It wasn’t everywhere, just like the lava isn’t everywhere in Hawaii, but it was bad where it did hit.

                Two years later I was working delivering pizza in a town that was hit hard by Floyd; certain low-lying areas (several blocks near the river) were largely abandoned. In fact, I think they were bought up by FEMA to prevent a reoccurrence.

                In 2015 Hurricane Harvey hit, and it caused flooding in Lumberton and Goldsboro, but not all over like Floyd did in 1999.

                • Floyd was a mess, setting all sorts of flooding records for North Carolina, part of that being that it was quiet so wide spread.

                • My wife and I took a trip to Galveston a few years back and there were lots all along the beach where signs for various hotels had vacant lots behind them.

          • My folks were among the first to get a toddler-harness and leash, back in the 1970s. A few people fussed. Most wanted to know where they could buy one (from Canada. Car-seat was from Germany, because they didn’t have good ones here yet.)

    • *goes off and writes a spec script for Criminal Minds

  2. Sarah, no problem about the time of post. Considering I’m a night owl and usually not online until sometime past noon, it’s cool. It just means I’m online and answering comments much closer to the time the post goes up.

  3. Let me also note that, when you look at the illustration I chose of the mantle plume, you see it has a big arm at the top that runs off toward the SW, parallel with the surface. This actually underlies the track of ancient megacalderas, and is apparently a kind of interconnected magma chamber/plume top remnant. It may also be the source of the Columbia River Flood Basalts, an apparently-associated trap supervolcano to the W.

  4. So, it not go BOOM any time soon?

  5. If the Yellowstone plume angles down south-southwest, then could it possibly be associated with the Colorado Plateau uplift?

    Also, “boiling hot and highly acidic” seems to be typical of volcanic hot springs in general. At least, the springs and mudpots around Lassen Peak are similar. The hot-springs site of Bumpass Hell near Lassen is actually named after a mountain man who stepped through the mud crust there and lost a leg as a result.

    • Plume/uplift — I don’t know. I hadn’t thought about that. The plume would run just to the west of the plateau; perhaps it forms the boundary of the uplift?

      Hot springs — yes, they ARE generally highly acidic, because of the gases that are typically brought up in the magma. Generally speaking, when most volcanic gases dissolve in water, they ionize and form aqueous acid solutions. Some of these, notably sulfuric acid (known as vitriol in Victorian times, which should bring some thoughts to mind) are nastily strong acids. Some volcanic gases, including hydrogen sulfide, are corrosive in their own right and do not require solution in water to do damage.

      The heat is simply a byproduct of being in close proximity to molten rock, which depending on variety, runs ~1300-2200F. (Which is also why geysers are so frequent a feature in some volcanic areas — water anywhere close to the actual magma chamber will be grossly superheated, and looking for a pressure release.)

      • …(known as vitriol in Victorian times, which should bring some thoughts to mind)…

        What comes to my mind is: Horrible, but Baron Adelbert Gruner deserved what he got.

        • Heh. Exactly.

          However, now imagine falling into a boiling-hot pool of the stuff.

          That’s a Yellowstone hot spring.

          • You have to get all the way to Thermopolis before the hot springs are safe for public use.

            At least Thermopolis is the only place near(ish) to Yellowstone that I’ve gone to a hot springs.

            • And of course I had to go see where that was.
              I’d estimate a good 75mi SE of the southeastern caldera wall…? That’s an eyeball on Google Maps.

              https://www.google.com/maps/place/Thermopolis,+WY+82443/@44.0498622,-109.8793628,7z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x534ca8ccd5256ad5:0x6163bb69160e03ae!8m2!3d43.6460672!4d-108.2120432

              I wouldn’t want to live on the Wind River Reservation, I have to admit.

              • My dad was from Lander, on the southern border of the Res, and I still have family that lives there.

                • Three weeks ago my wife and I were in Lander, visiting friends. Then we went on up to Yellowstone. Had a copy of “Kiss Your Ash Goodbye” on the Kindle…

              • FYI, it isn’t just the reservation I’d hate to live around. I’d be nervous living anywhere in that area. I just noticed the reservation when I looked up Thermopolis on the map, as I’d heard of the rez and didn’t realize it was JUST outside the park.

                When I was a kid and first got interested in vulcanology, I read a story about the formation of Paricutin in Mexico. (That’s the one where a crack opened up in the guy’s cornfield and started spewing ash and lava bombs, then turned into a full-on volcano.) Now, we’re talking early elementary school here, so I had no clue about plate tectonics, subduction zones, melt density, or any of that stuff, and that story — which was true — SCARED ME FREAKIN’ WITLESS. I had nightmares of a volcano cropping up in our back yard. I think that’s probably one of the reasons why I dug into vulcanology and learned about why volcanoes form and where they’re likely to be, and all that stuff.

                I can just imagine what kind of nervous wreck I’d have been as a kid if I’d discovered that there was a freakin’ SUPERVOLCANO in the neighborhood.

              • I see a lot of agriculture on the reservation. Looks like the volcano produced a lot of fertile soil once it weathers a bit.

            • Park you airplane tail to the hangars. The management is not responsible for windshields lost to golf-balls from the golf course that shares the mesa with the airport. BTFlownT.

              • ROFLMBO.

                Okay, I get this. I used to play polo. If you were there to watch, you backed your truck up to the sideboards so that 1) the windshield didn’t catch a mishit polo ball (about baseball size and solid hard plastic traveling at up to around 110mph depending who hit it, it will break bone if it hits you — ask me how I know) and 2) you could drop the tailgate and sit on it to watch. Add a cooler with some beer and snackies, and you had a nice tailgate to watch the match.

                Heck, if you were there to play, you still turned your truck to face away from the field. But if you were a player, you were at one of the end zones instead of the sidelines, and it makes a good place to keep the gatorade cooler and sit on something other than a saddle for a minute between chukkers.

              • I wonder if the tugs there have cages like the ball collection machines at driving ranges. I’d want a hardhat or helmet if working the flight line there.

            • Montana’s Chico and Norris Hot Springs are a short drive north of the Park. And we have a bunch more scattered across the state.

              https://www.onlyinyourstate.com/montana/hot-springs-mt/

  6. And the link is busted, but if you copy and paste it, it works.

    • Well, carp. I used the same links throughout all the installments. Didn’t work this week, did work last week, didn’t work the week before. Go figure.
      Here:

      It’s also available for Nook, if interested.

      • analytical-engine-mechanic

        And by the way, thanks especially for the last. I have a couple of Nook devices that do double duty as general Android and PDF/image readers and also as Nook e-readers; AND I’ve recently installed KIndle App too so I can read the Amazon-only books (LOTS of those by people around here).

        However, though it may just be the whole “porting” thing, the Amazon system takes up madly more “disk” space… and will NOT let me *buy* anything, only borrow, though it does invite me to re-install the whole thing most times I try.

        Otherwise I’d probably own about a dozen books by Alma Boykin, Margaret Ball, and a few others by now.
        While I *do* own about half of the Alpha Line series, many of your science specials, etc. And steadily buying more.

        Amazon might be a big, easy market on the *writing* side, but it’s a bit of a temperamental prima-donna Special Snowflake on the *reading* side so far!

        • Do I need to start adding the Nook links for the books, then? I can do that. Or you can go to my website, where I have all the purchase links I know about for each title:
          http://www.stephanie-osborn.com/

          • analytical-engine-mechanic

            It would help notably for some of the science shorts, but unless it’s very easy for you to do, or you’re thinking about losing casual sales, maybe not worth it (I usually do a Nook-based search by author/title, and often stumble over stuff I didn’t know to look for).

            The big deal is whether the non-Amazon (.epub) formats EXIST.
            Currently I buy everything in epub if I can, and if I can’t… ah, rent, see above.
            (K.U.L.L. is definitely the enemy of my enemy, but mabye still not my friend. Though I’d not likely have read any of Colplatschki, Shikari, Applied Topology, etc. without it even by now.)

            And last but *not* least, thanks for doing this book/series and others like the solar minimum work. If we have to have rising CO2 and/or falling solar “constant” (ahem!), at least better together…
            (or “throw another log on the fire” said Niven, Pournelle, Flynn).

      • Your link was good, but it looks like a prefix was added to it.

        (WordPress delenda est!)

        • I have no idea.
          I did a bitly thing where you can customize the links, and that way I can look at a glance and tell which book is which link (which is hella handy). And I’ve never had a problem with ’em working…until these articles posted here. So yeah, I’m thinking it is indeed a case of WordPress delenda est.

  7. No earth shattering BOOM!? You buzz kill. NOW what am I supposed to do for an end of the world as we know it cataclysm?

    **back to SMOD observations I guess**

  8. Heh; Janet Evanovich used the Yellowstone hot springs in her second Knight and Moon novel. There was some unobtanium in the magma plume.

  9. Just as a reminder, Division One, book one, if you haven’t read it yet. I’m having a great good time writing this series!

      • Books in the series in order:

        1) Alpha & Omega
        2) A Small Medium At Large
        3) A Very UnCONventional Christmas
        4) Tour de Force
        5) Trojan Horse
        6) Texas Rangers
        7) Definition & Alignment (just released last month)

        Coming soon:
        8) Phantoms (Oct 2018)
        9) Head Games (Winter 2019)
        10) Break, Break Houston (Spring 2019)
        with more likely…

    • I’m having a blast reading it. Currently on Texas Rangers, but haven’t gotten to where we know if Zebra has cured Echo’s mom of her pancreatic cancer or not. That’s for later tonight after I move some more cobbles into the washouts in the driveway from all the rain the past week and a half.

      • YAY! I’m glad you’re enjoying it so much! I love writing them. It’s just so much fun, and such a romp, letting my imagination out to play to that extent.

        I just finished the first draft of book 9, Head Games, last night. I’m gonna polish it up a bit and send it to betas and editors, then see about getting it ready to go up. I have at least one more planned past that, and I’m debating about whether to make it just an open-ended series, because I’m getting very positive feedback on it, and sales are starting to pick up.

        • So far I’d say you’re doing well enough with it to keep it going as a perpetual series until you can’t write anymore (May that be a LONG time from now, for all of us.) The problem is keeping the protagonists from going completely Mary Sue (Meg being a superhero on par with Captain America – nice role model for girls there. I should pick up 5 copies of Alpha & Omega and gift them to some friends girl children just to see what effect it might have on them.), having them survive mission after highly potentially fatal mission (as in WWII bomber crews), and keeping the scenarios fresh and interesting.