Yellowstone volcano‘s magma cavity was discovered to be about twice the diameter researchers earlier believed to be and prompted some people to claim that if a supereruption were to occur, thousands of people would lose their lives.
The Yellowstone caldera extends underneath the states of Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho and is referred to as a supervolcano because of its capacity to cause devastation on a global level.
What Would Happen in Case of a Supereruption
The place is constantly monitored by the United States Geological Survey (USGS) for hints of a supereruption. Such an event has only happened three times in history, according to experts, namely about 2.1 million years ago, 1.3 million years ago and 640,000 years ago, which prompted some to claim that a massive eruption is overdue.
Back in 2013, a study led by Jamie Farrell of the University of Utah discovered that the magma chamber underneath Yellowstone was a lot bigger than previously believed, measuring 18 miles (28 kilometers) wide and 9 miles (14 kilometers) deep.
According to Dr. Farrell, this means that there is sufficient volcanic material underneath the surface to create the largest of the supervolcano’s three eruptions. Researchers behind the YouTube channel ‘Science Time’ recently analyzed what a supereruption may look like, unveiling some haunting details.
A video published this month revealed: “If the Yellowstone supervolcano was going to erupt tomorrow, it would release more than two billion tonnes of sulfur into the atmosphere and more than a thousand cubic kilometers of rock and volcanic ash into the sky. Large parts of Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming would be buried in one meter of volcanic ash. Besides killing countless thousands of lives in the immediate aftermath of the eruption, it would create the largest refugee crisis in human history.”
Moreover, the decrease in global temperatures due to volcanic and drops of sulphuric acid blocking out the Sun would trigger a volcanic winter, which would cause crop failure everywhere.
The Eruption is Not ‘Overdue’
There has been registered some recent activity in the close areas of Yellowstone, which made people fear of a volcanic eruption. However, the video published on YouTube explained that this activity was not related to an eruption, before detailing the 2013 discoveries.
It added: “According to Mike Poland, the scientist in charge at Yellowstone Volcano Observatory, the recent earthquakes in Utah and Idaho are not related to Yellowstone, they are rather related to mountain building processes or tectonic extensions in the western United States.”
Still, the USGS has previously dismissed some claims regarding an overdue eruption. Yellowstone Volcano Observatory‘s scientists-in-charge Jacob Lowenstern stated back in 2014 that when you see people claiming that the eruption is overdue, they typically come up and say that the last eruption was 640,000 years ago, but it explodes every 600,000 years.
“But, in fact, if you average the eruption intervals, there’s 2.1 million to 1.3 million and then another 640,000 years ago. If you average those numbers, you come up with something that’s over 700,000 years. So, in reality, even if you tried to make this argument, it wouldn’t be overdue for another 70,000 years,” Lowenstern explained.