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Supervolcano beneath Yellowstone: Planet could be destroyed by eruption

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A supervolcano beneath Yellowstone National Park is far larger than researchers first believed. Raw Story reported Dec. 13 that the latest study reveals the volcano's magma chamber is about two-and-a-half times larger than scientists initially claimed it to be. The cavern is around 20 miles wide, two miles deep, and stretches over 55 miles. That's what one would call a "supervolcano" for sure.

The recent discovery over the supervolcano beneath Yellowstone is an "astounding" find, Bob Smith, a professor from the University of Utah, said. New details surrounding this marvel of nature was presented at this week's American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting in San Francisco.

Dr. Jamie Farrell from the University of Utah said earthquakes around Yellowstone have been recorded and seismic waves have been recorded as they travel underground.

So, what does this supervolcano beneath Yellowstone mean? According to the report, the last major eruption happened 640,000 years ago, in which ash covered North America and affected the entire planet's climate. If an eruption occurred now, it would be devastating for the world.

The large magma chamber contains a combination of solid and molten rock. Dr. Farrell said nothing of this supervolcano's size has been detected before.

On a positive note, Prof. Smith said the larger size of the Yellowstone volcano doesn't necessarily equate to a worse catastrophe because scientists don't know for certain when the supervolcano might erupt again. Seismic activity are monitored so warnings in advance can be sent out. There's the thought that a massive eruption is due at Yellowstone since it erupts every 700,000. The last eruptions happened one and two million years ago.

The development surrounding the supervolcano beneath Yellowstone sounds almost daunting. Will it erupt anytime or does mankind have a lot more time left before that takes place?

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