A volcanic super-eruption capable of wiping humanity off the face of the Earth isn’t likely to happen anytime soon. While a new study suggests these cataclysmic events occur more frequently than previously thought, nature has a way of doing what she wants.
In 2004, a group of scientists estimated that a super-eruption, one that could plunge the Earth into a nuclear winter, occurs between 45,000 and 714,000 years. This previous range is rather broad and not very threatening to modern civilization.
However, a research team reevaluated the estimate using a database of eruptions called LaMEVE. Their conclusion was much more ominous. As reported by Tech Times, they revised the previous estimate of super-eruptions to one every 5,200 to 48,000 years, with an average of every 17,000 years.
A Super-Eruption Is No Real Threat To Modern Civilization
Professor Jonathan Rougier, with the University of Bristol and co-author of the study, noted that geological records indicate the last super-eruption was around 20,000 to 30,000 years ago. This has alarmists believing the next one is coming soon.
While the next super-eruption may appear to be ready to explode, Rougier does not think humanity needs to worry, per a report from Metro UK.
“But it is important to appreciate that the absence of super-eruptions in the last 20,000 years does not imply that one is overdue. Nature is not that regular.”
Despite the comforting assessment of Professor Rougier, the study does imply that volcanoes are a much bigger threat to civilization than previously thought, especially with the significantly lower average time between super-eruptions. Throughout recorded history, humans have witnessed large, devastating volcanic eruptions, but no super-eruptions as of yet.
Yellowstone Supervolcano Not Ready To Explode
Recent rumblings below Yellowstone National Park are a cause of concern for some predicting a massive super-eruption is about to be unleashed. Quietly sitting deep under Yellowstone is a supervolcano, which could explode with a force 2,500 times greater than the eruption of Mount St. Helens in 1980.
As reported by the Inquisitr, seismologists measured nearly 3,000 earthquakes in the Yellowstone area from early June to early October. It was one of the largest volume of tremors in such a short period on record, second only to a swarm of earthquakes that struck in October 1985.
Some theorize the earthquakes are a warning sign that a super-eruption of the Yellowstone caldera is imminent. The tremors could be an indication that the magma chamber is filling and pressure is building.
However, seismologists familiar with the tremor activity do not think the earthquake swarm is related to the supervolcano at all. While the area was slightly more active than usual, it is normal to have thousands of small to medium-sized tremors shake Yellowstone.
Ultimately, experts in the field are not worried about a super-eruption with society-killing power happening anytime soon. Even with modern science and instruments, scientists admit nature will decide when and where the next catastrophe will occur and there isn’t much we can do about it. Ideally, all humans can do is remain aware of the risk and prepare for it.