New Mexico Supercomputing Challenge

Yellowstone eruption ash travel

Team: 149

School: Taos High

Area of Science: Earth science


Interim: Team Number: 149
School Name: Taos High School
Area of science: Earth Science
Project Title: Yellowstone Eruption Ash Travel
Problem Definition:
The Yellowstone volcano or Yellowstone Caldera last major eruption occurred around 64,000 years ago and is said to have covered a great part of the western half of North America. What would happen if the Yellowstone Caldera were to erupt today? Yellowstone has a 600,000 year cycle, the last eruption was over 640,000 years ago, and we are overdue for an eruption by 40,000 years. Our computer model will be designed to predict how far the ash would travel and under what time? This program will also help to predict which cities and towns need to be evacuated first and how much time they have until the ash reaches them.

Problem Solution:
We plan on building an environment using Net Logo similar to the U.S. and creating a location where the agents will start off. From there the agents will spread out to simulate the ash traveling through the atmosphere. We will use variables such as wind speed, wind direction, eruption duration, temperature, and many other variables that could affect the ash travel. With this we hope to be able to collect data and predict where the ash would travel.

Progress to Date:
Right now our team is gathering and retrieving information on volcanoes that are similar to the one in Yellowstone and volcanoes that have erupted recently. With this data we will try to predict how powerful the Yellowstone volcano will be if it erupts by comparing the eruption of volcanoes that are the most similar to Yellowstone Caldera. We are starting to familiarize ourselves to Net Logo and other programs like StarLogo to design programs to run our volcanic ash travel simulation. Our team is making a rough draft of what our program will look like. We will have a map that shows how the ash spreads over time and for our sliders we plan on making a slider for eruption duration, wind speed, and wind direction. We have also thought of putting in a graph that will show the distance traveled over time.

Expected Results:
Our team has read articles and viewed some documentary’s and we think that if the Yellowstone Caldera were to erupt again it will cover a large portion of the U.S with ash because it is such a big volcano. The ash of the volcano eruption would affect the land and environment by burning plants and crops and also damaging homes. The ash could also affect peoples health. With the data that we have collected so far we have compared Yellowstone Caldera to the Mount ST. Helens and it is way bigger than St. Helens and the eruption from the Mount. St.Helens eruption in 1980 was considered one of the most mass destructive volcanic eruptions.


Team Members:

  Noe Garcia
  William Nevels
  Adrian Hernandez
  Ricardo Trujillo

Sponsoring Teacher: Tracy Galligan

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