Supervolcanos and Great Earthquakes
”Then there came flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder and a severe earthquake. No earthquake like it has ever occurred since mankind has been on earth, so tremendous was the quake. The great city split into three parts, and the cities of the nations collapsed. God remembered Babylon the Great and gave her the cup filled with the wine of the fury of his wrath. Every island fled away and the mountains could not be found.” (Revelation 16:18-20 NIV)
There were 30 earthquakes greater than 4.0 magnitude August 31, 2012. September 4, 2012 there were 33. Of course there are many earthquakes everyday below 4.0, most unnoticed except by seismographs. Is this a lot in the world of earthquakes? You bet.
In the year 2000 there were 2,342 measurable earthquakes throughout the world. In 2010, there were 8,499 measurable earthquakes, almost a 400% increase.
Earthquakes are mentioned throughout the Bible and seven times in Revelation; but there is one to come that will be the Mother of all Earthquakes, the strongest earthquake the world has ever experienced or ever will experience in the future, so it is said. This future earthquake will sink islands of the world and mountain ranges will collapse to the earth. Following are seven Biblical examples:
“Mount Sinai was covered with smoke, because the Lord descended on it in fire. The smoke billowed up from it like smoke from a furnace, and the whole mountain trembled violently.” (Exodus 19:18 NIV)
“The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.” Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake.” (1 Kings 19:11)
“You will flee by my mountain valley, for it will extend to Azel. You will flee as you fled from the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Then the Lord my God will come, and all the holy ones with him.” (Zechariah 14:5)
“When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, “Surely he was the Son of God!”” (Matthew 27:54)
“There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.” (Matthew 28:2-4)
“Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose.” (Acts 16:26)
“I watched as he opened the sixth seal. There was a great earthquake. The sun turned black like sackcloth made of goat hair, the whole moon turned blood red, and the stars in the sky fell to earth, as figs drop from a fig tree when shaken by a strong wind.” (Revelation 6:12-13)
What could possibly turn the sun “black like sackcloth?” What is sackcloth?
According to American Heritage Dictionary, sackcloth is a rough cloth of camel’s hair, goat hair, hemp, cotton, or flax. It does not refer to a burlap bag. Sackcloth is derived from the Hebrew saq which referred to mourning or funeral clothes. In most societies, people wear black at funerals and in times of mourning.
One possibility of turning the sun black is a massive, or series of massive volcanic eruptions that would spew enough dust and debris into the air that the sun would be blocked out, totally. It would take a huge eruption, but we have had them in the past. A blocked out sun means total darkness and cold.
There are volcanoes, and then there are supervolcanoes. A supervolcano is any volcano that can eject 240 cubic miles of solid mass, not counting gases. Think about that: 240 CUBIC miles of stuff! Can you imagine something 6 miles long, 6 miles wide and 6 miles deep being ejected into the atmosphere just to come falling back down on the population below? The last known supervolcano eruption was about 70,000 years ago, Lake Toba in Indonesia.
Vulcanologists in general believe there are seven known supervolcanos, and I have included links if you wish to learn more:
1. Yellowstone, United States
2. Long Valley, United States
3. Valles Calderas,United States
4. Lake Toba, North Sumatra, Indonesia
6. Aira Caldera, Kagoshima Prefecture, Kyûshû, Japan
7. Siberian Traps, Russia.
Like hurricanes and earthquakes, volcanic eruptions are also rated on the Volcanic Explosivity Index (VEI) and a supervolcano is rated at the top of the scale as a VEI-8 (240 cubic miles of ejecta).
VEI – 8 eruptions, the largest, eject at least 240 cubic miles of solid debris, rocks, dust and ash.
VEI – 7 eruptions eject at least 24 cubic miles, still a lot of “stuff” that is going to fall down on people, animals and plants.
VEI - 7 or 8 eruptions are so enormous they form calderas rather than the “cone” shapes we are used to. Calderas are formed when the magma chamber beneath the volcano empties and collapses in on itself. Calderas of supervolcanos are so huge, you can’t tell you are in it because it looks like all the surrounding land.
Comparatively speaking (writing) Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines (1991) and Krakatoa in Indonesia (1883), both huge eruptions by everyday standards, wereVEI-6 eruptions, ejecting 2.4 cubic miles of rock, dirt and ash. Mount St. Helens was a VEI-5.
A massive eruption of Yellowstone isn’t imminent but is sure to happen in the future; and an eruption is past due. A thousand times more powerful than the Mount St. Helens eruption, Yellowstone has erupted 3 times in the past 2.1 million years, if the geologists and vulcanologists are correct. Yellowstone National Park’s supervolcano just took a deep “breath,” causing miles of ground to rise dramatically, scientists report. Unlike the “typical” cone-shaped volcano, Yellowstone has a flat caldera so large (25 miles x 37 miles) that most people don’t realize they are sitting right in the middle of the eruption zone.
If Yellowstone were to erupt today as it did 640,000 years ago, more than 2,000 square miles of the United States would be destroyed, covered in deep ash and other debris. The plume from the eruption would extend 25 miles into the atmosphere. A pyroclastic flow of 2,000 degree ash would flow at speeds up to 200 miles per hour, and anything in its path would be destroyed.
In 79 AD, Mt. Vesuvius in Italy erupted and destroyed the city of Pompeii and all life within. People were burned in place in whatever position they were in at the time, as attested to by archeological digs in the 18th century. Though major, this was not a supervolcanic eruption.
So what if several supervolcanos erupted at the same time? How large would the associated earthquakes be? Could the earthquakes actually sink land into the sea and collapse mountains to the ground?
April 29, 1903 in Alberta, Canada Turtle Mountain suffered a massive collapse from a landslide believed to have been caused by an earthquake. Turtle Mountain was named such by the Crow Indians in the 1800’s after they saw it slowly move.
In May, 2012 a large slab of the Swiss Alps collapsed as nearly 300,000 cubic meters slid to the ground.
June 7, 1692, Port Royal, Jamaica was a thriving city known for its decadence and pirate activity. At 11:43 AM an earthquake destroyed most of the city and two-thirds of the city sank into the Caribbean and remains twenty-five feet under water.
The “lost Island of Atlantis” is considered mythology by most modern scientists, but is it? The “myth” says that 2500 years ago a large earthquake or series of earthquakes caused the remarkably advanced city to sink into the sea.
“For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now-and never to be equaled again.” (Matthew 24:21)
There are many programs on History Channel, National Geo and Discovery about supervolcanos and earthquakes, possibly because of the nonsensical December 21, 2012 hysteria. However, the accuracy of Bible prophecy stands on its own merits. Acts 2:16-21 probably says it best.
“No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: ‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy. I will show wonders in the heavens above and signs on the earth below, blood and fire and billows of smoke. The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord. And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
Much of the “mainstream” church considers eschatology, the study of the final events of humanity as we know it, a nutcase obsession. But Jesus tells us to pray we don’t have to experience those days that will definitely come to be, eventually.
“Be careful, or your hearts will
be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you suddenly like a trap. For it will come on all those who live on the face of the whole earth. Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man.” (Luke 21:34-36)
Now the remaining question is, when will eventually be?