Mt. Redoubt just belched up a bit of volcanic dirt. The high stratospheric dust we could see much of last year has now vanished. Depending on how persistent this volcanic eruption is, we shall see if it covers the sky again. To tell this, one looks east at sunset. If the east is bright, there is volcanic dust in the stratosphere. Also, people are amazed to learn that property owners in Colorado don’t own any of the rain that falls on their homes. It is all owned by the agricultural giants. You can’t even put out a pot to collect rainfall! No surprise for me! Out West, homeowners own virtually nothing. They often don’t know this.
I went to the Redoubt web cam just two days ago and saw that it was very quiet. This is often a sign, there will be an eruption. And sure enough, it came along! Here is the webicorder of that event:
Alaska’s Mount Redoubt volcano erupted five times overnight, sending an ash plume more than 9 miles into the air in the volcano’s first emissions in nearly 20 years. Residents in the state’s largest city were spared from falling ash, though fine gray dust fell Monday morning on small communities north of Anchorage.
This 3D bar graph put out by the geologists in Alaska shows clearly how this Redoubt violence is not an isolated incident. Over the last three months, the agitation in the other volcanos in the Alaskan chain have grown greater, too. We still have only a very sketchy understanding how Magma works deep inside the earth. The entire volcanic chain in Alaska except for one volcano, a caldera volcano that is inland, are on the edge of the ocean. This is where subduction is going on. It is the northern edge of the Ring of Fire that surrounds much of the Pacific Ocean. Below are three of the standard eruption chemical types for volcanos in the island arcs:
- Mafic (basaltic)
- SiO2 < 50%
- FeO and MgO typically < 10 wt%
- Temperature: up to ~1300°C
- Viscosity: Low
- Eruptive behavior: gentle
- Distribution: divergent plate boundaries, hot spots, convergent plate boundaries
- SiO2 < 45%
- Fe-Mg >8% up to 32%MgO
- Temperature: up to 1500°C
- Viscosity: Very Low
- Eruptive behavior: gentle or very explosive (kimberilites)
- Distribution: divergent plate boundaries, hot spots, convergent plate boundaries; komatiite and other ultramafic lavas are mostly Archean and were formed from a higher geothermal gradient and are unknown in the present
- Intermediate (andesitic)
- SiO2 ~ 60%
- Fe-Mg: ~ 3%
- Temperature: ~1000°C
- Viscosity: Intermediate
- Eruptive behavior: explosive
- Distribution: convergent plate boundaries, island arcs
Here are four seismographs of other volcanos in the Aleutian chain:
The disturbance isn’t minor since it is affecting other volcanoes so strongly, some of which are quite far away. A Plinian eruption is the most dangerous for these types of volcanoes.
Now, on to another topic somewhat related to all this. Newcomers to the Wild West are stunned to learn, they own virtually NOTHING out there. They are lucky they are allowed to live in houses. This is because, the ownership of everything there is for the benefit of the earlier arrivals who then sell this mighty bounty to others, after killing off or stealing it from the Indians. This rapacious view is embedded in many laws out West. I left the West due to this. I didn’t own anything there and the State took it from me. I had virtually no rights.
Here, in NY, I own the sky above my head, I own the rain that falls, I own the dirt, the rocks, the trees. I own the holes in the ground. They are mine, to the center of the earth. Ha!
Out West, one is lucky to own even 12″ down! So here is some funny news from Colorado that made me glad, I don’t live there:
It is much worse. Much of the water rights were ‘owned’ by miners! They used water and polluted water while mining for minerals. Then, when the mines failed, sold the water rights to others! Getting people riled up so they fight off these sorts of goofy laws is very hard. Most people are transients. Meaning, they haven’t been round for 8 generations.
This is similar to many laws in former slave states. People think it is real neat, living in these places. But they don’t look real close as the laws and customs that prevent them from being the Lords of their Own Lands. People actually think it is bad in New York, for example. But we have many more protections and better land laws than in many other states. Since I lost a home out West and knew others who also learned the same hard lesson, I was very careful to buy land where I really own things. After all, even the United States government can’t own the clouds over my head. They are mine.
True, the courts allowed everyone to invade my airspace without permission due to court rulings 70 years ago. And the government reminds me of this all summer long as they fly all sorts of things straight at my house, at tree top level, to my great fury. But they can’t steal my water…yet. I know, they want to do this, too. And steal my land at the 6″ level. They want me to be a peasant. Well, the people of Utah and Colorado are PEASANTS. They have to ask the King for permission to piss. So much for standing tall, out West. I knew this was all a big joke, long ago. Welcome to reality.
As someone familiar with Colorado the news that collecting rainwater was against the law was stunning. Now I find that the state of Utah has a similar law. According to Jeff Demos, the state of Utah is busy implementing a new law, Utah Bill 128, that would allow residents to collect up to 2500 gallons of rainwater “at a time”. As a former owner of a 1200 gallon cistern, that’s a lot of water, and a lot a rain, something the drought stricken southwest is in short supply of. Unless Bill 128 becomes formal, collecting rainwater in Utah is illegal:
I have a 250 gallon cistern. This is small but we get water all year round out here. I encourage people to collect rain water. This prevents street flooding and it is good emergency water. The entire West is like a sitting duck in the desert: any catastrophe like volcanic or earthquake events can suddenly leave many millions of people without water. I would think, the government would DEMAND people have cisterns! And keep them full as possible. But then, I run nothing but my own territory which is mine, and not theirs and they better not touch it, either.
The first rules regarding the use of western surface water originated in California during the Gold Rush of 1849 and were brought to Colorado during the Gold Rush of 1859.
Any miner who used the water first had the right to use that water over any miner who arrived later. The next miner to arrive and use water had the right to use water over anyone arriving later, but had to defer to anyone with an older claim to water.
- Gradually, this system became widespread among all users of surface water in Colorado and was referred to as the Doctrine of Prior Appropriation, or the First-in-Time, First-in-Right doctrine.
The right to the use of water and land ownership did not go hand in hand because much of the surrounding land was federally owned. However, the water itself was considered property.
In 1876, the Doctrine of Prior Appropriation was set forth in the Colorado Constitution.
- To obtain a water right, water must be put to a beneficial use.
- The Constitution recognized a preference of water uses in the following order: domestic, agricultural, and industrial.
- Water rights may be bought, sold, inherited, moved from one place to another, or changed from one type of use to another, as long as the change does not injure other water rights.
In 1957, tributary ground water (ground water that is connected to a stream) became subject to the Doctrine of Prior Appropriation under the Ground Water Management Act.
Old timers loved being able to make a big buck, selling water rights. Water is a cause of tremendous political tension out West. On the other hand, all state governments encourage out of control population growth. I thought, in 1970, Arizona had far too many people. Today, it is many millions more. Tucson, in my youth, had below 45,000. Today, you can add zeros to that number.
In 1957, my parents actually owned the water rights in Scottsdale to an entire acre of water and we had this huge spigot that was a gate that would literally flood the orange orchard where our house was. I would literally swim in the gushing waters! While not too far off, other people had to pay for every gallon! This is Western water rights.
U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall (D-WVA) reintroduced his proposed revision of the 1872 Mining Law today, with a bill identical to the one that passed the House in 2007. The measure would impose a 4% royalty on existing mines and an 8% royalty on new mines. The Congressional Budget Office says approximately $1 billion in non-coal metals are produced on federal lands each year. It follows on the heels of yesterday’s release of the Pew reportcricitizing the existing law.
And Western mining rights are the same. Someone can tunnel under another person’s house. In much of the West and South, people can happily tear off and blow up mountains and dam up rivers and build huge toxic containing pools, etc. And you can’t stop them. I can’t build a toxic pool or dig a mine via blowing things up without permission. This is simple: my land is mine but I can’t make my neighbor’s lives hell, doing whatever. There are restrictions.
Out West, people who are making the messes aren’t really the land owners. They are ‘prospectors’ or are major political powers and can do as they please. The whole business of ‘land ownership’ is very queer out West. It is as if everyone is actually a temporary transit. Not like in Europe where a clan might live in one village for 2,000 or more years. Of course, there ARE people like that out West. We called them ‘Indians’. They have very restricted land rights compared to 200 years ago.
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