March 24, 2018

Yellowstone Supervolcano Closer To Eruption Than Expected, Say Researchers

13 October 2017, 04:25 | Kevin Scott

GETTYMagma beneath yellowstoe could build in a matter of decades

GETTYMagma beneath yellowstoe could build in a matter of decades

The supervolcano sitting under Yellowstone National Park in the U.S. could erupt much faster than expected, potentially wiping out life on the planet, Arizona State University researchers working around the area have said.

Don't believe the hype: Despite the headlines suggesting an impending eruption of the supervolcano under Yellowstone National Park, you're still not very likely to be incinerated by molten lava any time soon.

It's the latest revelation that's come out of studying the caldera in recent years, including insights into Yellowstone's eruption history and the magma plume that feeds Yellowstone's thermal activity. Before that, the eruption occurred around 1.3 million years ago, according to ZME Science. Depending on the size of the eruption, the volcano could cover major portions of the United States in unsafe ash, and the Earth's atmosphere would likely be filled with that same ash. "Until now, the magazine reported, geologists had thought it would take centuries for the supervolcano to make the transition". At that time, volcano expert Bob Smith, from the University of Utah said that it was an extraordinary uplift because it covered a very large area and the rates were very high.

Scientists believed the reservoir is drained after every huge blast, so they thought it should take a long time to refill. And a study in 2013 showed that the volume of magma moving into the supervolcano is almost three times larger than previously thought. But after examining fossilized ash, researchers at the University of Arizona realized that the conditions for a super eruption can happen in only a few decades.

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"It's shocking how little time is required to take a volcanic system from being quiet and sitting there to the edge of an eruption", ASU graduate student Hannah Shamloo told the New York Times.

Shamloo and Till previously presented their research at a 2016 meeting held by the American Geophysical Union.

Still, Yellowstone is one of the best monitored volcanoes in the world, notes Michael Poland, the current Scientist-in-Charge of the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory for the U.S. Geological Survey.

"We are all just living at the mercy of the super volcano under Yellowstone".

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