POD: Set in the future
|Appearance(s):|| Eruption to|
All Fall Down
|Type of Appearance:||Direct|
|Affiliations:||University of Utah|
Ruth Marquez was a geology graduate student working on her PhD at the University of Utah. She was part of a team of geologists, which included Kelly Birnbaum and led by Larry Skrtel, that was studying the increased geothermal activity in Yellowstone National Park. During one expedition into the park, the team discovered that Coffee Pot Springs had "gone nuts": a brand new geyser threw water a hundred feet into the air and springs were no longer just pools but blorping boiling water 8-10 feet high along with new, agitated springs forming.
After a conventional volcano began erupting at Ranger Lake, Skrtel's team traveled across the park by snowmobile to study it. Marquez was a passenger on one, behind Daniel Olson who was driving it, while Skrtel drove a second with Birnbaum as his passenger. They found that the volcano was spewing ash and chunks of magma into the sky. In addition, the lava had caused the lodgepole forest surrounding the lake to burn despite the winter snow cover. While wondering whether to approach closer, a boulder the size of a school bus was ejected and landed only a couple of hundred yards short of the team. Skrtel elected to move the team away from the volcano to Olson's disappointment, but he didn't argue.
The team were staying at West Thumb of Yellowstone Lake during their continuing studies when a second volcano began erupting at Coffee Pot Springs. A series of 7.0 magnitude quakes began leading to the team to look to ways to get out of the park. Larry Skrtel managed to get a colleague to arrange for two helicopters to evacuate the team the next morning. They were picked up and got to Butte, Montana (the helicopters' fuel range) before the supervolcano erupted. From there, they took a pre-arranged rental car to Missoula and took up temporary residence in Daniel Olson's apartment.
Olson let the other three stay at his place since Missoula was packed with refugees and with no empty hotel rooms for them. Birnbaum and Marquez shared the bed in the one bedroom apartment while Skrtel had the couch and Olson used a cot he brought in which was better than the tents others were using. The second December after the eruption, Marquez attended a geologists' convention in Portland, Oregon. During a presentation by Kelly (now married and named Ferguson), she sat beside Skrtel in the audience which might or might not have meant they were an item.