Super Volcanoes Worrisome, But No Need to Panic

Super volcanoes are apparently a thing, and not even a new movie from the Sci-fi channel where they are battling mega-tsunamis, Debbie Gibson and Tiffany.

It seems that threats like super volcanoes are becoming more common, whether it’s due to climate change or just increased awareness of extreme weather events due to the omnipresence of social media. Floods and water events have been in the news a lot in the past year, but super volcanoes were the subject of recent study by researchers at Vanderbilt University.

While scientists say we don’t have to get too freaked by super volcanoes, that hasn’t stopped the media from trumpeting the scary-sounding natural phenomenon as a “major threat.” Do you remember first learning about Pompeii in school, and how scary it seemed that an entire civilization was inescapably frozen in time under solidifying hot magma due to the scariness that is volcanic eruption?

Well, super volcanoes are like that… except they can cover whole continents. Eep. Not to jump on the super volcanoes will kill us all bandwagon, but researchers wrote in the science journal PLoS ONE:

“The generation of such large pools of magma and their eruption are fascinating phenomena from a scientific standpoint, but also constitute a major threat to humanity.”

It’s so like scientists to be “fascinated” by something like super volcanoes that would result in the painful deaths of millions. In a statement, Vanderbilt geologist Guilherme Gualda said of super volcanoes:

“Our study suggests that when these exceptionally large magma pools form they are ephemeral and cannot exist very long without erupting.”

The upside? Super volcanoes take a few thousand years to develop, and the most recent one was 26,000 years ago in New Zealand.