I spent the afternoon preparing for the Cracked article pitch by choosing which caldera volcanoes to focus on. Figured the collected Google Earth images are worth sharing. Here they are – click to enlarge the image and see all the details. Except for #1, this probably won’t be the order in which they appear in the article:
2. Valles Caldera, New Mexico. What seems wrong about this picture? (Hint: You’ll see it if you click on the image):
Yep, the atom bomb was developed on a “supervolcano” (technically, Los Alamos is on a ridge between White Rock and the caldera, I think).
3. Aso, Japan:
4. Roto Rua, New Zealand. Actually a larger and more recently active caldera – Taupo, which gives the name to this whole volcanic field – is a bit southwest of Roto Rua, but I selected this because it has a big city with the same name as the volcano. Here are both calderas:
5. Santorini, Greece. This one is pushing it a bit, as most of its eruptions have been less than the “super” VEI 7 or 8. I chose it because the big eruption in the distant past – the one that possibly ended the Minoan civilization – may have been a VEI 7, per the GVP. Also, today it is a popular honeymoon destination – of course I’m going to include it in a comedy article!
6. Long Valley, California. Also, see its USGS volcano observatory page. They keep a close watch on it, for obvious reasons – I didn’t include the heavily populated areas to the west, including Fresno and Merced. If you saw the movie Dante’s Peak, the story Brosnan’s boss tells about the economic disaster that hit Mammoth Lakes after the USGS announced news of increased seismic activity here is true.
Yellowstone isn’t a populated area, so it won’t be in the article, but it is the one everybody thinks of when they hear the word “supervolcano.” Here it is – much of the central part of this image, I think, is the caldera; see the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory website for more detailed information: