University of Colorado
October 23, 2032

For the past ten years, Nolan Drake was a constant bug in the government’s ass. Over the last decade Drake managed to blaze a trail right through the politicians’ mudded
environment and bring them one step closer to realizing the severity of Yellowstone’s eventual eruption. Nolan Drake was a well defined and established volcanologists of our time. At thirty-one, Drake was nearing the peak of his career. A devoted scholar of the volcano’s intricate design and powerful consequences, Drake had assembled the pertinent data and planned to bombard the politicians’ with his findings at the annual meeting of the minds in Boulder, Colorado. The University of Colorado had sponsored such a scholarly meeting of the best and brightest, and offered the invitation to Dr. Nolan Drake. He was one of Denver’s proudest sons, rising through the academia without hitting so much as a speed bump. His world travel had offered him the unique opportunity to gather and formulate a clear and destined path on when Yellowstone’s active super volcano would finally explode.
President-elect John Faulkner would be attendance as well as the lame-duck representation of the United States, President Jonathan Quincy Adams III. Nolan Drake would have John Faulkner to plead his case to and openly salivate at the possibility of turning the politician towards his cause.
The auditorium quickly filled with a diverse crowd of students, professors, politicians and curious bystanders.
"Ladies and gentleman," the Dean of the University, Dr. Malcolm Lowell started to warm up Nolan’s entrance. "Today we have our own local treasure, Dr. Nolan Drake at our disposal. His scientific studies on Yellowstone have brought not only local attention, but forged not only President Adams but the President-elect himself to visit our wonderful campus. I now present to you, Dr. Nolan Drake!" Lowell’s voice boomed over the entertained crowed as Drake approached the podium.
"Thank you Dean Lowell and my fellow peers." Nolan turned around and found a state-of-the-art Smart Board behind him. "This pioneering technology, first introduced a decade and half ago, will help me illustrate my points today." Nolan touched the screen and brought up a picture of Yellowstone National Park. "How many in this room actually know the history about Yellowstone?" Nolan asked the pointed question. A small scattering of hands raised with some tepid restraint.
"Okay, not a lot. Well, I will help fill you in," Nolan responded with a rush of adrenaline. He lived for these lectures and the chance to show off his knowledge. "I won’t lie to you, the politicians have pushed volcanic activity so far off the radar, that when a super volcano of Yellowstone’s magnitude finally does explode, everyone will be caught with their pants down around their legs."
"The truth is," Drake began, "is Yellowstone sits atop a highly active super volcano. It is the only super volcano that is not located by a body of water."
The crowd was silent and attentive to Drake’s lecture.
"When she does blow, ground zero will be scorched and purged of all living things. The eruption will also bury the likes of Wyoming, Nebraska, and Montana into one smoking hot mountain of steaming rubble."
"How do we know when Yellowstone will erupt?" One of the students called out the question.
"She’s on a clock. Every 600,000 to 640,000 years she explodes. She has had three explosions, and we are right now slightly overdue for the next eruption. Her last eruption yielded roughly more than 1,000 cubic kilometers of ash into the atmosphere. This amount be an overwhelming amount and be enough to completely saturate the United States a meter to two meters of ash and debris. The entire Northern Hemisphere
would suffer the greatest amount of damage: a nuclear winter would envelop the Earth and drop the global temperature by 5-20 degrees Celsius."
"We can survive it," President Adams bellowed out. "We are America, we will prevail. That’s what our forefather did."
"Yellowstone’s coming eruption will equal that of one-thousand Hiroshima-style atomic bombs–per second. Are you ready to mess with that data?" Nolan asked the crowd.
"Sheer speculation," President Adams shirked the scientific data.
"Actually, the last major super volcanic eruption, 74,000 years ago in Lake Toba, wiped out ninety percent of the population, leaving us with only hundreds of thousands people left alive. Lake Toba exploded 10,000 more times worth of ash and debris than Mount St. Helens did back in 1980. Lake Toba also spewed 3,000 cubic kilometers into the atmosphere and covered the entire globe in a nuclear winter, dropping the temperature by fifteen degrees and wiping out crops all over the world."
"We can’t live in the past," President Adams again offered skepticism to Drake’s harsh warnings.
"Yellowstone’s caldera has been quietly filling its pocket with magma. After her eruption, her caldera emptied and began to slowly refill. Every time we drill an oil well we are dancing with the devil. Some think if we prick this caldera, like a balloon, the air will ooze out and problem solved. However, the reverse is true, and according to many of my colleagues the balloon actually resembled that of a gas bubble and once pricked, it will explode upon impact in the form of a massive magma eruption."
"I want to hear more," President-elect John Faulkner interjected.
Dr. Nolan Drake withdrew a green colored marker from the computer’s board, ready to illustrate his wealth of knowledge to the stunned crowd.
"In comparing notes taken in 1920, we have found over a 10cm shift in the caldera on the northern end of Yellowstone Lake, submerging the lower half the tree line into the water on the southern end of the lake." Nolan drew the numbers on the board, magnifying the severity of the data. "The magma chamber is 40-50km in length and 10km in thickness and surprisingly very close to the park’s surface." Drake touched the Smart Board and flipped through several images, some thermal imagery of the magma chamber, and others highlighting an actual eruption taking place."
The entire crowd was stunned at the slickness of the new technology and the scientists overwhelming knowledge.
"I’ll offer more tantalizing tidbits of information for you. After ground zero obliterates everything in its path there is another cycle of doom to realize. This nuclear winter will produce radioactive type fallout, as Yellowstone sits above gigantic uranium reserves. Westerly winds will carry this cloud for thousands of miles, killing livestock and our population."
The entire room bristled about.
"Wait, it gets better." Drake smirked at the crowd. He enjoyed providing sound scientific data for those who were ignorant to the facts. "This ash cloud will bring down not only planes and birds, but will shield us from the sun instantly putting a wrench into our social and economic wheel of movement. Everything will cease to function and we will be sent back into the dark ages. Those that are left of course. Yellowstone could wipe out between four and five billion of our population, smothering the entire world underneath her blanket of death."
"What can we do?" Another student asked the million-dollar question.
"Stop drilling for one. Call off the dogs when it comes to drilling for oil in the park There are currently over 5,600 oil wells already being there. Between 2000-2008, the Bush Administration has successfully drilled an additional 10,000 oil wells. This reckless acvtion not only will expedited the volcano’s eruption, but could also set off a chain of events along the Cascade Mountain region, where thirteen active volcano’s lie in wait for the kill."
"I don’t any reason for concern. We’ve only had one major eruption on U.S. soil in over forty years." President Adams again was playing the usual card of ignorance is bliss.
"It might not happen for another thousand years," Drake continued. "However, she could erupt tomorrow, next week, or hell, even one second from now. The signs are there. The bulging caldera, the sinking lake, the earthquakes below Yellowstone have been escalating, and Old Faithful’s once annoyingly persistent schedules of releasing its
hot steam have been completely interrupted." Drake again smoothly ran his finger over the electronic board bringing his vision to the stunned crowd. "A nuclear winter is in store Did you know?" He began another question as he walked about the stage dressed in his baby blue suit and neatly combed black hair.
"Know what?" President-elect Faulkner asked as he moved down several rows and started to filter in and out of the front rows to gain better access to Drake’s speech.
"That one of Yellowstone’s previous eruptions had killed several animals found near a Nebraska watering hole. Some archeologist’s went out to Orchard, Nebraska and uncovered a fossil graveyard. Hundreds of skeletons were uncovered, including horses, lizards, rhinos, and turtles, all in their prime, and all wiped out ten million years ago, coinciding with one of Yellowstone’s one-hundred eruptions. Not only were their bodies covered in a white film, but their deaths have been forensically linked to that of Marie’s disease which is a lung disorder and most likely caused by heavy ash inhalation." Nolan paced about the stage. "How’s that for a conversation piece at your next power luncheon."
President-elect John Faulkner, a young spry fifty-eight had started to take in all the information and began to process it in one sitting. It was a daunting task, there were too many plots being constructed. Faulkner was a environmentalist to the ninth degree and his campaign was centered on restoring Earth and making the planet a cleaner, healthier place to live. He engineered many of the country’s homeland programs. He helped rebuild New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina wiped out the city back in 2005, and constructed an in-depth hurricane alert program which since its inception back in 2010, has raised the awareness and reaction to the incoming hurricanes by forty-five percent.
Faulkner had also worked closely with NASA and their desire to colonize Jupiter’s moon Europa. NASA went as far as to build a mammoth space station around Jupiter, which was nearing completion within four to five years. Nolan Drake would definitely have Faulkner on his side once the Senator from Louisiana takes office in a few months.
"We have been making some strides in determining when Yellowstone will finally explode. We have inserted a conglomeration of seismographs in and around the park offering us an early detection system. My assistants have discovered that a chemical change in the lava’s composition, the frequent scattering of small earthquakes, gas escaping from the ground, and the several cracks that have been foind throughout the park, all point to the imminent eruption of Yellowstone."
"I read that the caldera’s swelling of magma and volcanic gas would also offer another warning." One of the students had offered their knowledge.
Impressed, Nolan Drake took the conversation to another level. His eyes spotted President-elect Faulkner shifting again in the front row. At least he was interested, unlike the stick in the mud President the country was stuck with for the last eight years.
"I’m very impressed with your participation," Nolan responded kindly to the student. He didn’t let the fact known that this particular student, and several others were enrolled in his class at the University. Nolan enjoyed the fact that his students had retained some knowledge from the adjunct professor’s extremely lengthy, but informative lectures.
"Mr. Drake," the President-elect summoned the scientist. "I’d like a word," he mouthed his invitation.
"Thank you everybody," Nolan touched the intelligent board once more, closing down the pictures and hyperlinks. His fingers exited out of the program and he powered down his silver HP laptop and gathered up the lingering cords.
The President-elect briskly walked up the corner steps of the platform, passed by the microphone and attempted to converse with the popular scientist.
"Doctor Drake," the President-elect introduced himself. "May I have a word with you please?"
"Yes, Sir." Drake slipped his laptop back into the black briefcase.
"I’d like to chat with you concerning the possibility of Yellowstone’s eruption."
"Well, what would you like to know?"
"Do you have a timetable?"
Nolan Drake looked across the scattering crowd and then back at the President-elect. After a brief scratch of his chin, Drake finally responded. "I predict the eruption will happen within the coming decade, and when it does, be ready." Drake slid the strap of his laptop case over his shoulder and gathered up his stack of disheveled papers. "When she finally does erupt," Drake said in a low voice as he leaned in closer to the President-elect. "She’s gonna hang one on your chin."
Jason Gehlert www.jasongehlert.comCopyright 2007

Europa: Rise of the Carnelians

I have just wrapped up my 5th novel, a science fiction/horror epic entitled Europa: Rise of the Carnelians.

I have planned to expand the arc over three novels and offer a sneek peek at the Prologue for Europa which is slated for a 2009 release.

Stay tuned for further updates