Yellowstone's Supervolcano Could Erupt in a 'Geologic Snap'

GETTYYellowstone volcano WARNING Catastrophic eruption would destroy ALL life on Earth

GETTYYellowstone volcano WARNING Catastrophic eruption would destroy ALL life on Earth

If another eruption were to take place, the researchers found that the supervolcano would spare nearly nothing in its wrath.

Supervolcanoes - capable of spewing 2,500 times more material than Mount St. Helens did in 1980 - such as the one under Yellowstone are far more powerful than traditional volcanoes.

Such an event could cover most of the United States in ash and possibly plunge the Earth into a volcanic winter, they said, the New York Times reported.

The researchers from Arizona State University have analyzed the minerals found in the fossilized ash taken out from the latest mega-eruption.

This allowed them to pinpoint the exact changes that occurred to Yellowstone right before the last eruption.

The odds of any supervolcano erupting in the near future remain small, the researchers say - but the forces that drive these rare events may move faster than anyone thought. It's just that the process by which the supervolcano might be gearing up to an explosion is happening more quickly than scientists thought.

They examined fossilised ash deposits from the last time it exploded - approximately 630,000 years ago - to collect traces of crystal that were once inside the magma chamber.

Except that if you actually read the new scientific study on the matter, as reported by The New York Times, we're not exactly on the cusp of a geological disaster in the form of ashy volcanic winter. It's even shorter than a previous study that found that another ancient supervolcano beneath California's Long Valley caldera awoke hundreds of years before its eruption. By studying layers of rock that recorded changes in temperature, pressure, and water-much like the rings on a tree, The Times notes-she and her team calculated the eruption occurred only decades after the magma poured in.

Graduate student Hannah Shamloo says, '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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