A supervolcano eruption at Yellowstone national park could kill everyone in the United States according to scientists.
As previously reported by The Inquisitr, a European supervolcano is showing signs of life and could risk everyone in the EU, but the biggest supervolcano found so far is under the Pacific Ocean.
Unfortunately, a supervolcano eruption is much more likely than an asteroid strike and just as deadly. The last supervolcano to erupt in Indonesia caused ash to block out the sun and caused global cooling for a thousand years (cool weather can be more devastating than global warming due to agriculture). If a new supervolcano were to emerge, it could cause temperatures to fall by 50 degrees Fahrenheit for a decade.
This type of event can cause mass extinctions, and even a little ice age can cause many problems. For example, some scientists believe the Dark Ages were literally dark and cold, and there was a lot of political and social unrest throughout Europe. Even in Asia, the Chinese said the “stars were lost from view for three months.” (Of course, they also blamed the environmental problems on dragons.)
So, when it comes to a supervolcano, Yellowstone national park is, unfortunately, a candidate site for a new eruption. Scientists analyzed the Yellowstone Caldera using an X-ray to see how it responded to changing pressure and temperature:
“The difference in density between the molten magma in the caldera and the surrounding rock is big enough to drive the magma from the chamber to the surface. The effect is like the extra buoyancy of a football when it is filled with air underwater, which forces it to the surface because of the denser water around it. If the volume of magma is big enough, it should come to the surface and explode like a champagne bottle being uncorked.”
Previously, it was thought that seismic activity was necessary to trigger a supervolcano, but now they know the sheer volume of liquid magma is enough to cause a catastrophic super-eruption:
“We knew the clock was ticking but we didn’t know how fast: what would it take to trigger a super-eruption? Now we know you don’t need any extra factor – a supervolcano can erupt due to its enormous size alone. Once you get enough melt, you can start an eruption just like that.”
Yellowstone erupting could release enough magma and ash to bury whole cities underneath kilometers of destruction. The good news is that the supervolcano at Yellowstone isn’t in danger of exploding any time soon. The last time it occurred was before the dawn of civilization. While it’s believed stopping an eruption is impossible, researchers say they should be able to predict an eruption by monitoring the pressure of underground magma.