Monday, December 23, 2013

Yellowstone supervolcano much bigger than thought. Should you worry?

According to a new study the hot molten rock beneath Yellowstone National Park is 2 ½ times larger than previously estimated, meaning the supervolcano has the potential to erupt with a force about 2,000 times the size of the Mount St. Helens.

Yellowstone has had three eruptions in the past 2.1 million years. If you look at its past history the supervolcano would seem to erupt about every 700,000 years. Give or take a few 10s of thousands of years. As the last eruption happened 640,000 years ago we are probably due for one in the next 50 or 60 thousand years. However with only three eruptions in the past 2.1 million years, basing any estimates of something possibly happening every 700,000 years or so is risky

Most experts do believe there will be another eruption, they just don't know when. However there are so many instruments and researchers monitoring the activity in Yellowstone that we would likely have at least a few weeks or possibly even years notice of a pending eruption. However some people point out that as Scientists have never witnessed the eruption of a supervolcano we don't really know if we would get any warning. It could just go off with a bang. 
So should you worry about Yellowstone? Probably not. But don't forget that Yellowstone is only one of many potential supervolcanoes in the world. Best to be prepared I always say.

Will Yellowstone erupt? Who can say.

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