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After being hit with the strongest earthquake in 20 years, Western Montanans woke to the trembles of a 5.8 magnitude quake. Although the damage is not severe, many geological experts are now raising concerns of Yellowstone’s dormant super volcano. In the wake of this earthquake, fears have increased that it could be waking up.
The U.S. Geological Survey reported, with Reuters adding that the tremor was felt hundreds of miles away, from Missoula to Billings and some surrounding states. A swarm of over 1100 earthquakes recorded in the Yellowstone caldera over the past month, in conjunction with this recent quake in Montana has prompted scientists to voice concerns about the so far dormant Yellowstone “Supervolcano.”
Thousands of snow geese were burned and poisoned to death when they landed in a Montana mine tailings lake filled with acid and toxic metals.
The 700-acre Berkeley Pit is a massive crevice left behind from nearly 30 years of copper mining. It filled up with water 900 feet deep, which then accumulated toxic levels of inorganic compounds including arsenic, cadmium, cobalt, copper, iron and zinc. The water is as acidic as distilled vinegar, strong enough to liquefy the steel propeller of a motorboat.
The pit is a Superfund site and also a tourist attraction, where people pay $2 to see the toxic, reddish water. It has also become renowned as a location to study extremophiles, microorganisms that can persist in conditions toxic to most life.
Flock of unprecedented size
The Pit is maintained by mining companies Montana Resources and Atlantic Richfield, which since 1995 have been responsible for preventing birds from landing in the toxic lake. In late November, an off-duty Montana Resources employee called to notify Berkeley Pit staff that a flock of about 25,000 snow geese was in the air about 25 miles away.
“Time to break out your splitboard or get your hike on, because it’s been puking at Big Sky Resort,” says snowboarder website.
“The iconic shred zone located just south of Bozeman, Montana is reporting over 16 inches (40 cm) of fresh snow at the top of Lone Peak and 12 inches (30 cm) of snow in the bowl, mid-mountain on Lone Mountain. The clouds have dissipated and the storm is moving along, but this is a great first start to the winter season for the resort. Big Sky is one of North America’s largest resorts with 34 lifts, 5,800 shredable acres, and 4,350’ vertical drop.”
– “Anomalous” July snowfall in Montana, Wyoming and Idaho (Ice Age Now, July 29, 2015):
‘Exceptional’ cold front blankets Montana, Wyoming peaks with rare July snow, reads the headline in the Washington Post.
“Montana, Wyoming Receive Unusual Late-July Snowfall,” reads the headline on weather.com.
– Monsanto GMO wheat contamination discovered in Montana (RT, Sep 27, 2014):
Monsanto’s experimental genetically modified wheat has been discovered growing in the second US field in Montana, about a year after the discovery of the company’s unapproved crop growing in Oregon disrupted US wheat exports.
The plants were discovered at a test site at Montana State University, where back in 2000-2003 Monsanto was conducting field trials of its wheat, genetically modified to tolerate Roundup herbicide.