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Science & Technology

Supervolcano turns out to be double the size

By T.K. Randall
December 11, 2013 · Comment icon 73 comments



A hidden threat lies just below the surface. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0 David Monniaux
The supervolcano at Yellowstone National Park is believed to be 2.5 times larger than earlier estimates.
The natural beauty and hot springs of Yellowstone National Park attract thousands of tourists from all over the world on a yearly basis, but not far below the surface is an increasingly large chamber of molten hot magma that could erupt at any time.

The volcano is no ordinary one either, containing as much as 200-600 cubic km of molten rock the vast subterranean cavern represents one of the largest known supervolcanoes. When it does erupt it will cause untold devastation for hundreds of square miles and impact the climate on a global level.
Now researchers investigating the site have made an astounding discovery - that the supervolcano is actually two-and-a-half times larger than previously believed.

"We’ve been working there for a long time, and we’ve always thought it would be bigger... but this finding is astounding," said Prof Bob Smith.

It's not all bad news however - there is no sign that the supervolcano is likely to erupt any time soon and it is quite possible that nothing will happen at all in fact for many thousands of years.

Source: BBC News | Comments (73)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #64 Posted by seeder 9 years ago
I wouldn't disagree with that, I didn't actually mean no life would survive, more like our way of life. Since we and all of the other animals are alive today means that we have survived these kinds of thing before. And not only that, there has been a huge increase in doomsday shelters being built, and many are just for the wealthy but even survivalists have similar plans "Inside America's luxury bomb shelters" The underground homes which have enough space for pools, basketball courts... and even private jets http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2327932/The-boom-luxury-underground-bomb-shelt... [More]
Comment icon #65 Posted by Frank Merton 9 years ago
That's been going on for a long time by people with money to throw away. I think I would rather not survive such a thing.
Comment icon #66 Posted by Bavarian Raven 9 years ago
That's known as a bottle neck and it apparently occurred after the Lake Toba (Spelling??) super Volcano blew its top. They think the population went down to as little as 100 000 individuals. 100,000? Knock off a zero or two and you be closer. I've read it went down to as little as 10,000 or maybe half that.
Comment icon #67 Posted by Swede 9 years ago
That's known as a bottle neck and it apparently occurred after the Lake Toba (Spelling??) super Volcano blew its top. They think the population went down to as little as 100 000 individuals. More recent research suggests that the Toba eruption may not have had the effect on the human population previously postulated: http://www.livescien...no-effects.html .
Comment icon #68 Posted by Myles 9 years ago
That's been going on for a long time by people with money to throw away. I think I would rather not survive such a thing. I'd certainly like to survive. It would not be pretty, but it certainly would be interesting.
Comment icon #69 Posted by seeder 9 years ago
Comment icon #70 Posted by coolguy 9 years ago
20/20 did a story on this tonite.its scary I live in New York. All of America can be destroyed.
Comment icon #71 Posted by Hankenhunter 9 years ago
thats right Child of Bast...the great folks of La. sre die hard people and alot of fun also ...would like to move there Somewhere way back when, I remember reading an article that said there wasn't enough eruptible magma at the current time to produce a super-eruption. Only about 10% of the magma chamber has a low enough viscosity. That new study may supersede the one I read, so take it with a grain of salt. Another thought: pressures in that chamber in the past have raised the surface high enough to retain a permanent ice cover. The current surface is nowhere near the point where it could sup... [More]
Comment icon #72 Posted by jesspy 9 years ago
More recent research suggests that the Toba eruption may not have had the effect on the human population previously postulated: http://www.livescien...no-effects.html . Cool article. Thanks for the link.
Comment icon #73 Posted by jesspy 9 years ago
Supervolcanoes like Yellowstone can explode without an earthquake or other external trigger, experts have found. The sheer volume of liquid magma is enough to cause a catastrophic super-eruption, according to an experiment at the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF) in Grenoble. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-25598050


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