Science & Technology
Supervolcano could erupt sooner than thought
By T.K. Randall
October 13, 2017 · 10 comments
When will the supervolcano erupt again ? Image Credit: CC BY-SA 4.0 Miguel Hermoso Cuesta
The enormous supervolcano in Yellowstone National Park could erupt with only a few years' warning.
The natural beauty and hot springs of Yellowstone National Park attract thousands of tourists from all over the world on an annual basis, but not far below the park's serene surface is an increasingly large chamber of molten hot magma with the potential to erupt at any time.
When the inevitable does eventually happen, the Yellowstone supervolcano will cause untold devastation across hundreds of square miles and impact the climate on a global level.
The last time an eruption occurred was 631,000 years ago, suggesting that another one is long overdue, however exactly when this might happen has long remained a bit of a mystery.
Now scientists studying fossilized ash deposits from earlier eruptions have reached the unsettling conclusion that a future eruption could occur with far less warning than previously thought.
Rather than knowing about such an eruption centuries or even thousands of years in advance, we may only have mere decades to prepare and perhaps even less time than that.
"It's one thing to think about this slow gradual buildup - it's another thing to think about how you mobilize 1,000 cubic kilometers of magma in a decade," said geochemist Kari Cooper.
Source: New York Times
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