Researchers at the Arizona State University have warned that the build-up to a catastrophic eruption of the Yellowstone supervolcano that devastates the global ecosystem and threatens humanity could be only a few decades away or even less. The latest warning contradicts previous estimates that the geological process that leads to a major eruption of the supervolcano takes thousands of years.
The disturbing conclusion comes from a new research study by experts at Arizona State University (ASU). The new study was conducted to help volcanologists improve their ability to predict the next major eruption of the threatening supervolcano.
The last Yellowstone supereruption happened about 631,000 years ago, according to experts.
The ASU study involved analysis of trace crystals obtained from Yellowstone's Lava Creek Tuff, which consists of deposits of fossilized ash from the last major eruption 631,000 years ago. Results of the analysis indicated that the last major eruption of Yellowstone was triggered by a rapid rise in temperature that occurred over a shorter time frame than previously suspected.
Dr. Christy Till, a member of the team of researchers at ASU, told the New York Times that their study found that the geological process that led to the last major eruption did not take several thousand of years to build up as scientists previously thought. They found that the rise in temperature and pressure that led to the eruption, after injection of fresh magma, took place over a much shorter time frame of only a few decades.
Although the latest finding raises concerns, it makes it possible for scientists to accurately predict when Yellowstone's next massive eruption would occur.
"We expected that there might be processes happening over thousands of years preceding the eruption."