The supervolcano beneath Yellowstone National Park in the United States may seem quiet, but what many do not know is that it has the potential to cause worldwide climate damage if and when it erupts, according to a Dec. 12 report from CBS Las Vegas. Recently, geologists were shocked after they discovered that the supervolcano beneath Yellowstone is much bigger than previously believed.
According to a new study, it is likely that the next major eruption in Yellowstone will occur in one of three areas of parallel faults running through the park from north to northwest. National Geographic reports that no supervolcano has erupted in recorded human history, but geologists fear that Earth is long overdue for an eruption.
A report from Raw Story indicates that the magma chamber of the supervolcano beneath Yellowstone is nearly 2.5 times larger than earlier estimates suggested, stretching over 55 miles and containing about 125 and 185 cubic miles of molten rock.
The supervolcano's cavern is about 20 miles wide and nearly 2 miles deep.
“We’ve been working there for a long time, and we’ve always thought it would be bigger,” said Bob Smith, University of Utah professor. “But this finding is astounding.”
In light of this discovery, scientists are now monitoring the supervolcano's activity more closely than ever.
"There is an imminent danger," says Guillaume Giraud, a professor at Michigan State University. "All studies conclude that there is magma ready to erupt in the near future."
In a recent interview, Dr. James Farrell of the University of Utah stated that an eruption from the supervolcano beneath Yellowstone would be 2,000 times the size of the Mount St. Helens eruption in 1980. Regarding the possibility of an eruption from the supervolcano beneath Yellowstone, Farrell gave the following statement:
“We know there’s been these really large volcanic eruptions in the past and what we’re seeing now matches that.We see that there is indeed a large magma reservoir and that there is the potential for large volcanic eruptions in the future, although that would be in the far future.”
“These are really big volcanic eruptions and it would definitely be a global event. It would not only affect the U.S. but it would affect the world."
“All this material that is shot up in the atmosphere would eventually circle the earth and would affect the climate throughout the world,” Farrell concluded.
The supervolcano beneath Yellowstone is believed to erupt approximately every 700,000 years, and could create an ash cloud that would make two-thirds of the U.S. uninhabitable. Although scientists are keeping a close eye on the supervolcano, Utah Professor Bob Smith explained that trying to accurately predict when the supervolcano will erupt is almost impossible.
What's your opinion on the threat of an eruption from the supervolcano beneath Yellowstone? Voice your concerns in the comments section below.