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My Disaster Is Better Than Yours

March 18, 2020

I live 350 miles from a volcano that might kill me any day. It would probably kill you to, but I’ll be dead first. (Yay, I win the race to death! Sorry, a little dark humor.)

Yellowstone National Park is an amazing place. It has some of the world’s most interesting and unique natural wonders, geysers and hot springs, rivers that run near boiling hot that mix with the near freezing runoff from melting snowpack.

But, the engine that fuels this mixing pot of nature is a volcano. Not just any volcano, one of the world’s 20 supervolcanoes. Supervolcanoes erupt once every 100,000 years on average. But, when they do it’s life changing. . .for the entire world. But, if Yellowstone goes, I won’t be much interested in the nuclear winter that follows it.

I’ll be dead.

Oh, it’s not a prospect I look forward to, of course. But, there’s not much I can do about it. And since it’s not something I can change, I don’t spent too much time worrying about it.

There was an earthquake in Utah today. It was big as far as Utah goes. It was 5.7 on the Richter scale. The most powerful earthquake in 30 years. By the way, Yellowstone’s eventual explosion will be preceeded by earthquakes.

But even without the world destroying prospect of a supervolcano, Utah is at risk for earthquakes. We sit on a fault line that runs all up and down the Wasatch front. Like most major fault lines, it intersects with multiple smaller fault lines. We don’t mind the fault lines. We walk over them, drive over them, build our houses next to them and generally ignore them until an event like today reminds us.

One of those faults slipped today. It was 7:09AM. I was already at work in my home office on a call with our office in North Carolina. The room started to shake and then it kept shaking. Fifteen seconds is a long time when it feels like someone is shaking your house from its foundation.

Where I’m at there was no damage. Some building in Salt Lake City had minor damage and a lot of houses in the Magna area south of Salt Lake City had broken pictures, mirrors, and dishes.

Later in the day I had a call with my team in Florida. They were naturally interested in the details about the earthquake. It reminded me of a conversation I had with a native Floridian last time I was there. Hurricane Dorian, was bearing down on Florida’s West coast and I was scheduled to fly out just before the storm.

Many people were stocking up, or getting out. Hank wasn’t too worried.

I’ve lived my entire life in Florida so Hurricanes don’t scare me.

Don’t you worry about flooding?

Nah, my house is not in a flood plain.

You don’t think the wind will damage it?

No. I’m quite a few miles from the coast, so unless we are hit straight on, it’ll be alright.

Well, I think it would worry me.

Actually, I prefer hurricanes.


Sure, think about it. A tornado may only give you a few minutes warning and everyone is equally at risk. An earthquake gives you even less warning and more risk. But, a hurricane? You get a couple of weeks’ warning and you can better prepare. Hurricane’s are the best disasters to deal with.

I had never thought of it that way. And I realized he hadn’t even mentioned supervolanoes.

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

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