What if the Yellowstone National Park super volcano erupts today?
Recently the authorities of the Yellowstone National Park had to cross off a road leading to the park because a hot water spring suddenly turned volatile in nature. There was visible scalding water coming out of the springs and the temperature read close to 152 degrees Fahrenheit. There may be speculations that the super volcano will erupt in our lifetime and the damage will be catastrophic.
Let’s take a closer look at the super volcano and the damage it can do if it erupts now.
1 The Yellowstone Super volcano
Yellowstone Caldera is an active volcano in the Yellowstone National Park which is also known as Yellowstone Super volcano. The caldera measures about 34×45 miles. It was formed during 3 super volcano eruptions in the past 2.1 million years.
The Yellowstone volcano last erupted some 640,000 years ago and ejected 240 cubic miles of rock, dust an ash in atmosphere. It is a reservoir of super-hot magma 5 miles deep which is fed by rocks and stones which are present hundreds of miles below.
This heat is responsible for the hot water springs in the national stone.
2 Current volcano activities
Authorities in Yellowstone had to cordon off a road close to Mammoth hot springs after a spring suddenly turned extremely hot and volatile. Normally this would be a routine issue for the park, but this time the temperature reached 152 degrees Fahrenheit and saw scalding water escaping from the breaks in the ground.
This could be an indicator of increased volcanic activity underground.
3 What do the recent activities mean?
Researchers, who have studied the history of Yellowstone along with the recent activities, said that the last time the volcano erupted; it flattened the nearby landscape completely. They also found an unknown magma chamber in the garden of the national park.
This collection of liquid rock is situated under the surface nearly 12 to 28 miles beneath it. The intensity and temperature of the magma is four times greater than other magma found in the Yellowstone.
Though there is nothing to be worried about, as there have been only 47 super eruptions evidences found in Earth’s history with the most recent one happening in Lake Taupo some 26,000 years ago. The most devastating was the Toba eruption some 74,000 years ago which caused major shifts in tectonic plates of Earth and caused a 8-10 year global winter, almost eliminating the then human race.
4 What if the Yellowstone super volcano erupted today?
In theory, if the Yellowstone national park super volcano erupted, it will create possibly the biggest disaster ever seen in not only the United States history, but in world history.
The eruption will spew hot magma and ash thousands of miles into the air and will damage buildings and crops all around the country. The super volcano is pretty capable of burying states like Wyoming, Idaho, Montana and Colorado in up to 3 feet of ash. This is not the ordinary ash, but volcanic ash which is a mixture of crushed rock and glass.
But the most likely scenario is that there will be a small eruption which will cause the lava to flow out of the volcano. This will be followed by earthquakes as the magma builds up towards the surface of the Earth. A volcanic eruption will also affect the climate in a big way. When the Pinatubo erupted in 1991, it cooled the planet by 1 degree Celsius and when the Tambora erupted in 1815, it cooled the planet to the stage where it damaged crops all over the world.
5 Odds of Yellowstone super-volcano erupting
The odds of Yellowstone super-volcano erupting are very low. According to scientists, the Yellowstone is behaving as it has been for 140 years. There is also a huge possibility of the Yellowstone volcano dying up. It already has had 3 eruptions, and that too big ones in past 2 million years or so and possibility of a 4th one happening in near future is very less.
The hotspot of the Yellowstone is also moving away from under the national park. The process is still on going and can keep going for more than a million years. Hence the Earth and Yellowstone, both are safe for now.