NASA - Not Another Serious Answer?
The comments have been huge fun. Thanks and a round of applause to all.
The press offices of all of the US agencies have noted an increase in general public anxiety with respect to 2012. Even the venerable USGS which tracks quakes, volcanoes, and tsunamis has barely mentioned the existence of El Hierro in the Canary Islands and its over 10,000 quakes this year. USGS only put up a web page pointing to the IGN.es web site when enough reporters called and asked what the heck was happening off-shore from La Restinga.
Mind you, El Hierro appears to have become "constipated" right now - and has stopped venting gas and rocks with as much violence as a week ago - preferring instead to opt for really sharp earthquakes from 20 km below the weakening El Golfo Bay escarpment as sea water works into the fault lines. Nothing quite says "splash" like a rock wall that is 8 km deep and 1 km high above sea level being propelled by jets of steam and magma towards the East Coast of the US, and pushing ahead of it a 40 km wide wave that will build to a wave crest of 1 km high in shallow water.
The NASA Press Office did the right thing to redirect the apocalyptic queries to their humorous press releases - and really just avoid the discussion of earthly volcanoes all together.
They really do have a lot more pressing things to do right now like budget justifications, explaining the SWAT-team arrests of grannies carrying around specks of moon dust, "stealing back" camera gifts to former astronauts, and buying tickets in bulk for Virgin Galactic flights to capture the "scientific experience" of getting the heck off the planet.
The NASA Press Office just doesn't want everyone else doing exactly the same thing - booking space flights - during the upcoming holidays - since that would probably make for rather difficult passenger delays at the Virgin Galactic counter at the new spaceport in New Mexico, around the corner from Roswell, where the new ICE immigration quarantine processing center is being built for off-world visitors, which will be operated by ICE contracted private enterprise and will serve fried chicken to all detainees, since in space, everything tastes like chicken.
That, and the fact that NASA checked baggage is charged at $25,000 US per pound to simply place into orbit - and we are not talking about round trip baggage fees, or even the estimated times to track down and return lost items in orbit: Hey, bud, just try keeping a diamond tiara in place in zero G.
Yes, sir, the NASA Press Office respectfully answers all public questions and calls from members of the press with their characteristic charm and ability to redirect to other US agencies, who just ignore their phone calls or outsource their calls to call centers in India, like FEMA.
So, "supervolcanoes"? No problemo.
Si! They exist. Just don't bother asking about manana.
After all, the Truth is Out There ...