Yellowstone's supervolcano may erupt sooner than expected


Geologists believe Yellowstone's last super-eruption took place about 631,000 years ago.

The supervolcano lurking beneath Yellowstone National Park might be getting ready to explode, an eruption that could be devastating to life on Earth.

"We expected that there might be processes happening over thousands of years preceding the eruption", Christy Till, a geologist at Arizona State who is Shamloo's dissertation adviser, told the paper. The crystals also reveal a supereruption followed much quicker than scientists previously thought-perhaps within decades, or what Popular Mechanics calls "a geologic snap of the finger".

The researchers, The New York Times reported, have determined that the supervolcano has the ability to spew more than 1,000 cubic kilometers of rock and ash - 2,500 times more material than erupted from Mount St. Helens in 1980 - an event that could blanket most of the United States in ash and possibly plunge the Earth into a volcanic winter.

But it's not the only supervolcano there is. Experts studying the Italian supervolcano note that Campi Flegrei, which last blew in 1538, has experienced earthquakes and ground uplifting that has made room for magma to build up beneath it. Inside, they tracked the changes that the volcano went through before its eruption.

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Predicting volcanic eruptions is hard, however, and volcanologists are trying to crack the code. Researchers warned about the threat of the volcano eruption after analysing minerals in the fossilised ash from Yellowstone's past.

The Old Faithful geyser is evidence of the volcanic activity beneath Yellowstone National Park.

"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", researcher Hannah Shamloo told the New York Times. Authorities are taking a potential eruption seriously. There was another eruption 660,000 years before that.

Yellowstone is one of the world's most monitored volcano sites, under constant surveillance from satellites and ground-based monitoring stations.

This undated photo provided by Robert B. Smith shows the Grand Prismatic hot spring in Yellowstone National Park's that is among the park's myriad hydrothermal features created by the fact that Yellowstone is a supervolcano, the largest type of volcano on Earth.