Yellowstone Supervolcano May Erupt Sooner Than Anticipated

The Supervolcano Underneath Yellowstone National Park May Erupt Much Faster Than Ever Thought

It's the latest revelation that's come out of studying the caldera in recent years, including insights into Yellowstone's eruption history and the magma plume that feeds Yellowstone's thermal activity.

The odds of any supervolcano erupting in the near future remain small, the researchers say - but the forces that drive these rare events may move faster than anyone thought.

The minerals revealed changes in temperature and composition built up in only decades. And a study in 2013 showed that the volume of magma moving into the supervolcano is almost three times larger than previously thought. Based on the new study, it seems the magma can rapidly refresh-making the volcano potentially explosive in the geologic blink of an eye.

The supervolcano hiding under the Yellowstone National Park deserves such a name.

In fact, some of the park's most popular attractions, like the Old Faithful geyser and the Grand Prismatic Spring, are actually signs that an enormous magma reservoir is roaring underground.

A powerful eruption occurred roughly 630,000 years ago, according to National Geographic, shaking the region and creating the Yellowstone caldera - a bowl about 40 miles wide the encompasses much of the park.

Shamloo and Till previously presented their research at a 2016 meeting held by the American Geophysical Union. Two years ago, a study painted a bleak picture of the damage that a Yellowstone supervolcano eruption can cause, with molten lava covering the Earth's surface, thick clouds of smoke in the atmosphere, and up to 90,000 immediate fatalities. Lucky for us, the supervolcano has been largely dormant since before the first people arrived in the Americas.

An expert at the Yellowstone volcanism, Bob Smith from the University of Utah told that, "It's an extraordinary uplift, because it covers such a large area and the rates are so high".

But nearly everyone who studies Yellowstone's slumbering supervolcano says that right now, we have no way of knowing when the next big blast will happen.

Yellowstone is one of the world's most monitored volcano sites, under constant surveillance from satellites and ground-based monitoring stations.

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