Supervolcano beneath Yellowstone could blow sooner than we thought – and wipe out life on earth

“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.”

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Let’s forget about Donald Trump and his horrendous administration for a minute.

According to new research reported by USA Today, the super volcano beneath Yellowstone National Park “may blow sooner than thought, an eruption that could wipe out life on the planet.”

Scientists from Arizona State University that are studying the volcano studied minerals in fossilized ash from the most recent mega eruption and found changes in temperature and composition that had only taken a few decades.

The team expected that the processes would happen “over thousands of years preceding the eruption,” but instead the crystals revealed changes that happened much more quickly.

Should the volcano erupt, it could spew more than 1,000 cubic kilometers of rock and ash. This would be 2,500 times more material than the Mount St. Helens eruption in 1980, and could potentially blanket most of the United States in ash and plunge the Earth into a volcanic winter.

According to National Geographic, 630,000 years ago a powerful eruption resulted in the Yellowstone caldera, a 40 mile wide crater that forms a majority of the park. The previous eruption occurred in about the same timeframe before that, 1.3 million years ago, which could indicate that the supervolcano is gearing up for another explosion.

These findings come on top of a 2011 study that found the magma reservoir in Yellowstone had bulged by about 10 inches in seven years.

According to graduate student Hannah Shamloo, “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,” though she cautions that at this point there is a lot more research to be done before any definite conclusions or time frames can be determined.

 

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Ruth Milka started as an intern for NationofChange in 2015. Known for her thoughtful and thorough approach, Ruth is committed to shedding light on the intersection of environmental issues and their impact on human communities. Her reporting consistently highlights the urgency of environmental challenges while emphasizing the human stories at the heart of these issues. Ruth’s work is driven by a passion for truth and a dedication to informing the public about critical global matters concerning the environment and human rights.

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