But don’t panic. Eruption will only change global climate and catastrophically affect half the United States. There is nothing you can do about it so stop worrying.
The magma reservoir lurking beneath a dormant supervolcano in Yellowstone National Park far exceeds past estimates of its size, a new analysis shows.
“We found it to be about two-and-a-half times larger than we thought,” said analysis team scientist James Farrell of the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. “That’s not to say it’s getting any bigger. It’s just that our ability to see it is getting better.”
The size finding, presented at the American Geophysical Union fall meeting in San Francisco last Thursday, has big implications for the extent of the volcano’s impact when it next erupts.
The volcano (called a supervolcano because it’s a massive structure, not just one pimple on the earth’s surface), has a pattern of erupting every 640,000 years or so. The last time it erupted was 640,000 years ago. Approximately. Scientists expect weeks to months of warning for an eruption as the surface will be seen to inflate and harmonic tremors will signal moving magma underground. There is extensive seismic monitoring in Yellowstone.
Yellowstone is called the mecca for geologists. The reason why it is as unique and fabulous a place is because of the heat engine underground. But sometimes, payback is a bitch. As a geologist, many people ask me about the Yellowstone volcano because of the media coverage of it as a catastrophy waiting to happen. They are scared. But really, there is nothing we can do about it so no sense worrying. If it erupts, the world is affected. So, sure you can move away but they may be no escaping. And, if it erupts in a hundred years, we’ll be gone anyway. There’s no predicting that far into the future how the earth will behave.