'Supervolcano' could start erupting faster than thought

Mindy Sparks
October 13, 2017

National Geographic says researchers at Arizona State University analyzed minerals in fossilized ash and concluded that the supervolcano woke up after "two influxes of fresh magma flowed into the reservoir below the caldera".

Beneath Yellowstone National Park lies a supervolcano, a behemoth far more powerful than your average volcano.

The supervolcano is hiding underneath the Yellowstone National Park, which is a secret natural force that has potentials to cover the United States in to ash and transform the world in to the volcanic winter.

Perhaps ominously, according the ZME Science website, the previous eruption occurred in about the same timeframe before that - 1.3 million years ago - meaning that the system might be ready for another explosion.

Researchers, according to The New York Times, believe the resting supervolcano has the ability to spew more than 1,000 cubic kilometers of rock and ash, which is 2,500 times more material than erupted from Mount St. Helens in 1980.

Scientists believed the reservoir is drained after every huge blast, so they thought it should take a long time to refill.


The latest revelation comes after a 2013 study found the magma reservoir that feeds the supervolcano was almost triple the size of previous estimates.

An expert at the Yellowstone volcanism, Bob Smith from the University of Utah told that, "It's an extraordinary uplift, because it covers such a large area and the rates are so high". What they discovered surprised them - the changes in temperature and composition only took a few decades, much faster than the centuries previously thought.

"We expected that there might be processes happening over thousands of years preceding the eruption", Christy Till, a geologist at Arizona State who is Shamloo's dissertation adviser, told the paper. It's also news because, as the Times notes, decades are but "a blink of an eye, geologically speaking".

"We want to understand what triggers these eruptions, so we can set up warning systems", Shamloo, a graduate student Arizona State University's School of Earth and Space Exploration, told EOS.

In 2012, other scientists reported that at least one of the past super-eruptions may have really been two events - suggesting that such large-scale events may be more common than thought.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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