Yellowstone's Supervolcano Could Blow Sooner Than We Thought

Yellowstone supervolcano eruption could wipe out life on Earth

Yellowstone supervolcano eruption could wipe out life on Earth

Now researchers from Arizona State University believe the supervolocano last erupted after two influxes of fresh magma flowing into the reservoir beneath the volcano - and it all occurred much more quickly than previously thought. The news causes alarm because one eruption from the supervolcano could wipe out life on Earth.

The latest analysis of minerals in Yellowstone reveal the critical changes in temperature and composition built up in decades as opposed to centuries. Meaning, the conditions that lead to supereruptions could happen within a human lifetime, according to the New York Times.

Geologists have earlier suggested the supervolcano could take centuries before it explodes.

"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.

According to The New York Times, an eruption at Yellowstone could send more than 1,000 cubic kilometers of rock and ash flying at once. The explosion could also be 2,000 times the size of 1980's eruption of Mount St. Helens, which killed 57 people.

"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", she told the Times. A study conducted in 2011 found that the region above the magma reservoir in Yellowstone has bulged up by 10 inches in seven years.

The supervolcano, which last erupted more than 600,000 years ago, could spew ash across most of the continental US, sending Earth into a volcanic winter. The supervolcano has been analyzed by many research teams and independent volcanologists in the past.

They usually have highly infrequent and intense explosive blasts that measure magnitude eight on the Volcano Explosivity Index (erupting more than 1,000 cubic kilometres).

According to ZME Science, Yellowstone has erupted at least three times; the last time was approximately 630,000 years ago.

Yellowstone may be best known for its geysers like Old Faithful, but it's also famous for the supervolcano that lies just beneath the surface.

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