It’s well known that Yellowstone National Park.sits on top of a large volcano. After all, the geysers are a testament to that immense force of Nature. What not been known or fully understood until recently is just HOW large that volcano really is.
The magma chamber of this supervolcano is roughly two and a half times as big as previously thought. It’s about 20 miles wide, 55 miles long, and goes as deep as three to nine miles below the Earth’s surface, according to researchers who presented these findings recently to the American Geophysical Union’s fall meeting in San Francisco. That’s about 162 square miles of red hot molten magma.
“We’ve been working there for a long time, and we’ve always thought it would be bigger… but this finding is astounding,” said University of Utah Prof. Bob Smith.
A “super eruption” would throw volcanic material throughout a 500 mile radius of the volcano. Envision a four-inch deep cloak of ash, smothering and polluting our midwestern farms and rivers. No farms, no food.
“It would be a global event,” said the study’s lead author, University of Utah’s Jamie Farrell. “There would be a lot of destruction and a lot of impacts around the globe.
“All this material that is shot up in the atmosphere would eventually circle the earth and would affect the climate throughout the world,” Farrell told the BBC.
No need to worry about such a cataclysmic event happening anytime soon, scientists say. The caldera at Yellowstone has only experienced a super eruption three times – 2.1 million years ago, 1.3 million years ago and 640,000 years ago. Experts estimate this volcano has a big eruption every 700,000 years or so.
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