Yellowstone a Silent Threat

You may have seen the Discovery Channel special on the supervolcano underneath Yellowstone. I know I didn’t know anything about supervolcanoes or that there was anything under Yellowstone until I saw that special. Since seeing it though I’ve done a lot of research on the subject. It’s a fascinating subject to me. If you don’t know anything about supervolcanoes, I’ll explain.

A supervolcano is defined as, on, a volcano that ejects a trillion tons or more of material when it erupts. Its 30 times stronger than the strongest volcanic eruption in history, Krakatoa. The last time one erupted was around 71,000 years ago and it almost destroyed humanity. Only around 5,000 humans survived. The supervolcano underneath Yellowstone National Park erupts once every 600,000 years. The last time it erupted was around 630,000 years ago.

You may understand now what they hype is about Yellowstone and supervolcanoes. Scientists don’t think it will erupt anytime soon. However, there has been a lot of activity recently and I’m not sure if scientists are trying to make everyone calm and not worry, rather then tell the public what exactly is going on. Maybe Yellowstone isn’t going to erupt anytime soon. However, I consider Yellowstone to be a great threat in my opinion.

At the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory, during the month of December 2007, there were many findings. There were 184 earthquakes in the Yellowstone reign. The largest was a 3.7 magnitude. The caldera of the volcano has moved upwards 18cm in the past 37 months.

In comparison to a regular volcano, Mount St. Helens crater is 2 square miles. The caldera underneath Yellowstone is 1,500 square miles. If Yellowstone erupts it would take out millions of people. Not just the lava or the explosion itself but the ash itself will kill countless amounts of people.

The effects of Yellowstone erupting would be devastating. Armageddon online explains the effects well. Within a thousand kilometers of the explosion all life will be destroyed. The ash from the volcano will coat places from “Iowa to the Gulf of Mexico”. Enough lava will pour from the volcano to cover the entire US 5 inches thick. After the initial explosion tens of thousands will be dead. This isn’t the end of the effects though. There are also long term effects. The ash erupted can block out the suns rays putting us into a “nuclear winter”. Ash will kill the plant life and people. Killing crops and causing food shortages.

There is so much focus on the supervolcano underneath Yellowstone that people don’t realize that there are actually 7 volcanoes that can be considered supervolcanoes. Three of them in the United States. The caldera of them aren’t nearly as large as the one under Yellowstone though, which is why you hear about this one more.

There are many websites that show pictures of what scientists think the explosion will look like and where the explosion will effect first. These are really interesting pictures and I encourage you to look them up. Yellowstone may not erupt in our lifetime. Maybe not in our children or grandchildren’s lifetime but when it does erupt, it will be one of greatest devastations on earth.