World’s largest super-volcano set to erupt for the first time in 600,000 years, wiping out two-thirds of the U.S.?

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By Daniel Bates

The super-volcano beneath Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming has been rising at a record rate since 2004

It would explode with a force a thousand times more powerful than the Mount St Helens eruption in 1980.

Spewing lava far into the sky, a cloud of plant-killing ash would fan out and dump a layer 10ft deep up to 1,000 miles away.

Two-thirds of the U.S. could become uninhabitable as toxic air sweeps through it, grounding thousands of flights and forcing millions to leave their homes.

On the verge of a catastrophe? Yellowstone National Park's caldera has erupted three times in the last 2.1million years and scientists monitoring it say we could be in for another eruption (file picture)On the verge of a catastrophe? Yellowstone National Park’s caldera has erupted three times in the last 2.1million years and scientists monitoring it say we could be in for another eruption (file picture)

This is the nightmare that scientists are predicting could happen if the world’s largest super-volcano erupts for the first time in 600,000 years, as it could do in the near future.

Yellowstone National Park’s caldera has erupted three times in the last 2.1million years and researchers monitoring it say we could be in for another eruption.

They said that the super-volcano underneath the Wyoming park has been rising at a record rate since 2004 – its floor has gone up three inches per year for the last three years alone, the fastest rate since records began in 1923.

But hampered by a lack of data they have stopped short of an all-out warning and they are unable to put a date on when the next disaster might take place.

When the eruption finally happens it will dwarf the effect of Iceland’s Eyjafjallajökull volcano, which erupted in April last year, causing travel chaos around the world.

The University of Utah’s Bob Smith, an expert in Yellowstone’s volcanism told National Geographic: ‘It’s an extraordinary uplift, because it covers such a large area and the rates are so high.

‘At the beginning we were concerned it could be leading up to an eruption.’

Area of outstanding natural beauty: The Yellowstone caldera (circled in red) in Wyoming is the world's largest super-volcanoArea of outstanding natural beauty: The Yellowstone caldera (circled in red) in Wyoming is the world’s largest super-volcano

Scorched earth: An artist's interpretation of how the Midway Basin in the park might look after an eruptionScorched earth: An artist’s interpretation of how the Midway Basin in the park might look after an eruption

But he added: ‘Once we saw the magma was at a depth of ten kilometres, we weren’t so concerned.

‘If it had been at depths of two or three kilometre we’d have been a lot more concerned.’

Robert B. Smith, professor of geophysics at the University of Utah, who has led a recent study into the volcano, added: ‘Our best evidence is that the crustal magma chamber is filling with molten rock.

‘But we have no idea how long this process goes on before there either is an eruption or the inflow of molten rock stops and the caldera deflates again’.

The Yellowstone Caldera is one of nature’s most awesome creations and sits atop North America’s largest volcanic field.

Its name means ‘cooking pot’ or ‘cauldron’ and it is formed when land collapses following a volcanic explosion.

In Yellowstone, some 400 miles beneath the Earth’s surface is a magma ‘hotspot’ which rises to 30 miles underground before spreading out over an area of 300 miles across.

Atop this, but still beneath the surface, sits the slumbering volcano.

July 22, 1980: Mount St Helens in Washington erupts. A Yellowstone caldera eruption would explode with a force a thousand times more powerfulJuly 22, 1980: Mount St Helens in Washington erupts. A Yellowstone caldera eruption would explode with a force a thousand times more powerful

Scientists monitoring it believe that a swelling magma reservoir six miles underground may be causing the recent uplifts.

They have also been keeping an eye on a ‘pancake-shaped blob’ of molten rock he size of Los Angeles which was pressed into the volcano some time ago.

But due the extreme conditions it has been hard to work out what exactly is going on down below, leading researchers unable to say with certainty what will happen – or when.

Since the most recent blast 640,000 years ago there have been around 30 smaller eruptions, the most recent of which was 70,000 years ago.

They filled the caldera with ash and lava and made the flat landscape that draws thousands of tourists to Yellowstone National Park every year.

‘Clearly some deep source of magma feeds Yellowstone, and since Yellowstone has erupted in the recent geological past, we know that there is magma at shallower depths too,’ said Dan Dzurisin, a Yellowstone expert with the U.S. Geological Survey at Cascades Volcano Observatory in Washington State.

‘There has to be magma in the crust, or we wouldn’t have all the hydrothermal activity that we have.

‘There is so much heat coming out of Yellowstone right now that if it wasn’t being reheated by magma, the whole system would have gone stone cold since the time of the last eruption 70,000 years ago.’

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3 Responses

  1. put a tap on it. that does the same like the removal of unconvenient truths everywhere by silencing what could cause hysteria to the “poor” population! Yellow Stone can burst any second and thats NOT an issue of a 1000 miles but of 3 to 4000 miles or why the hell you think Rockefeller and Gates went top norway with the so called seed bunker? good news here is that 99% of the finance slaves are to die as well and no more petrol needed while falling back to stone age the rest of the world. maybe we should even help that volcan so the Bushes, reps and demoidiots call it a terrorist volcan or asking to go the last question of all “why I am so damn paranoid? is it because of cocaine or because of making bucks on the back of fears and false promises”??????

  2. Brenda Budd says:

    This is absolutely INSANE that the scientific world has NOT at LEAST heeded some warnings to people in this country, I figure they are supposed to keep it semi-secret, as to not cause panic in people. I live in Denver and about winter or so last year, there was a blurb, albeit tiny, in the local news about how Yellowstone has been showing signs of recent activity. This in part because the Geological Research center or something like that is based up in Boulder, so it was locality type news.
    However, I suspect they main reason this is quiet, is it takes care of ALOT of the population reduction TPTB need…

    • Mihai-Robert Soran-Schwartz says:

      The information is widely available since many, many years. Not only in US, but also in the rest of the world, due to at least a dozen of documentaries, one of the best being from BBC.
      Fact is too – that there is NO indication at all that an eruption will happen during the next 10 – 100 generations. Almost sure is that it will happen in the next 100,000 – 200,000 years 🙂
      I wouldn’t issue a warning for this event. But I understand that some people may find everywhere a conspiration, usually a “white man’s” complot, and I understand that they need to be re-comforted.

      Just as a special service for those people who love RT as the single best source of information about reality, truth and Russian gods, but miss correct data about Yellowstone’s next anti-imperialist eruption 🙂
      —> here is just one very, very public source of information and up-to-date monitoring data on Yellowstone.
      http://volcanoes.usgs.gov/yvo/
      and
      http://www.nps.gov/yell/planyourvisit/resourceandissues.htm

      As an add-on, completely free-of-charge for survivors of the last eruption (70,000 years ago, prior to the Latoka invasion of the homo sapiens free Americas) some info on the next one:

      Q: How imminent is an eruption of the Yellowstone Volcano?

      A: There is no evidence that a catastrophic eruption at Yellowstone National Park (YNP) is imminent. Current geologic activity at Yellowstone has remained relatively constant since earth scientists first started monitoring some 30 years ago. Though another caldera-forming eruption is theoretically possible, it is very unlikely to occur in the next thousand or even 10,000 years. Scientists have also found no indication of an imminent smaller eruption of lava.

      Q: How much advance notice would there be of an eruption?

      A: The science of forecasting a volcanic eruption has significantly advanced over the past 25 years. Most scientists think that the buildup preceding a catastrophic eruption would be detectable for weeks and perhaps months to years. Precursors to volcanic eruptions include strong earthquake swarms and rapid ground deformation and typically take place days to weeks before an actual eruption. Scientists at the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory* (YVO) closely monitor the Yellowstone region for such precursors. They expect that the buildup to larger eruptions would include intense precursory activity (far exceeding background levels) at multiple spots within the Yellowstone volcano. As at many caldera systems around the world, small earthquakes, ground uplift and subsidence, and gas releases at Yellowstone are commonplace events and do not reflect impending eruptions.

      *The YVO is a collaborative effort between the US Geological Survey, the University of Utah, and YNP to monitor and study the Yellowstone Volcano. Congress has given the USGS the responsibility of volcano hazard assessment, and YNP assists the USGS in their volcano monitoring effort.

      Q: In regard to volcanic activity, is it safe to visit Yellowstone?

      A: Yes. Scientists do not have any indication of an imminent eruption, or any eruption, at this time.

      Q: What is park staff doing to monitor and assess the probability of an eruption?

      A: The YVO maintains an array of instruments that monitor activities at Yellowstone around the clock. In addition, YVO scientists collaborate with scientists from all over the world to study and assess the hazards of the Yellowstone volcano. To learn more about Yellowstone’s volcanic past and to view current data about earthquakes, ground movement, and stream flow, visit the YVO website at http://volcanoes.usgs.gov/yvo/

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