Geology of the National Parks

A Rocking Review


Ring of Fire

Did you catch all of that? Review the chapter with another Johnny Cash tune not sung by Johnny Cash, "Ring of Fire.", Mt. St. Helens by the subduction zone—it really is a burning thing!

Parody of Johnny Cash's "Ring of Fire"
Animation and video editing by Cindy Alley, videography by Eric Spielvogel, words by Richard Alley

Enrichment: The Biggest Eruption in the Whole USA

The eruption from Mt. St. Helens in 1980 was not especially big—each of the main Yellowstone eruptions moved about 1000 times more material, for example. But, the Mt. St. Helens eruption killed more people (57; before that only 2 deaths in the US were blamed on volcanic eruptions, with none since), and did more property damage (almost $1 billion), than any other eruption in the United States since the country was formed. Novarupta, in Alaska in 1912, blasted more material than the Mt. St. Helens eruption, but was so far from most people that no one died and damages were small; also, Alaska, at that time, was a territory of the US but not yet a state.

The 1980 Mt. St. Helens eruption probably involved the largest landslide ever observed by humans, in the US or anywhere else, at least since we started writing down what we saw. So, by many measures, in 1980, Mt. St. Helens gave us "The Biggest Eruption in the Whole USA." Here's a Rock-Video parody to show you what happened. If an eruption this big happened from Mt. Rainier, which is close to many more people, the damages would be far, far greater. And, Rainier might just do it some day...

The Biggest Eruption in the Whole U.S.A.

Enrichment: Just for Fun—Rockin' Around the Silicates

We've seen that most of the Earth's crust is made of minerals with silica (silicon and oxygen) in them. Melting these minerals feeds volcanoes, and freezing the melt clogs volcanoes and makes new minerals in new rocks. When we get to the Redwoods and the Badlands in a couple of weeks, you'll see how the weather attacks the new minerals, and you'll meet a few of the minerals being attacked. Here, just for fun, you can see some truly beautiful minerals, and learn a bit about the wonderful ways they are put together—Lego blocks and erector sets have nothing on nature! Meet the main minerals of the crust, in a parody of Bill Haley and the Comets' Rock around the Clock. This Rock Video has a bit more detail than we'd ever ask in this class, so don't worry about actually learning the difference between nesosilicates and inosilicates unless you're really interested.

Rocking Around the Silicates