Published: Fri, October 13, 2017
Science | By Hubert Green

Yellowstone supervolcano could erupt much sooner than previously thought

Yellowstone supervolcano could erupt much sooner than previously thought

Ash from a mega-eruption at Yellowstone would spread across the US, covering nearby states such as Wyoming, Idaho, Colorado and Montana in up to three feet of ash, according to a 2014 study of what might happen if a supervolcano erupted, and blanketing the Midwest and other parts of the USA, killing animals and plants, affecting the power grid and destroying buildings, causing a volcanic winter.

It's true that researchers have determined they'll have less warning than previously thought the next time the supervolcano erupts. The crystals also reveal a supereruption followed much quicker than scientists previously thought-perhaps within decades, or what Popular Mechanics calls "a geologic snap of the finger".

The current theory has its origins in a 2013 study that concluded the reservoir is 2.5 times larger than previous estimates, and since it drains after every massive explosion, geologists thought it would take a long time to refill. Based on the new study, it seems the magma can rapidly refresh-making the volcano potentially explosive in the geologic blink of an eye.

That eruption was the deadliest and most economically destructive volcanic event the United States has experienced.

A powerful eruption occurred roughly 630,000 years ago, according to National Geographic, shaking the region and creating the Yellowstone caldera - a bowl about 40 miles wide the encompasses much of the park. Inside, they tracked the changes that the volcano went through before its eruption.

"We see interesting things all the time. but we haven't seen anything that would lead us to believe that the sort of magmatic event described by the researchers is happening", says Poland via email, adding that the research overall is "somewhat preliminary, but quite tantalizing".

In fact, in 2011 scientists found that the ground above the magma chamber had swelled by 10 inches.

An expert at the Yellowstone volcanism, Bob Smith from the University of Utah told that, "It's an extraordinary uplift, because it covers such a large area and the rates are so high".

Yellowstone is one of the world's most monitored volcano sites, under constant surveillance from satellites and ground-based monitoring stations.

Like this: