Yellowstone National Park is a ticking time bomb, and when the volcano under it erupts, it will be a worldwide event.
Deep below the natural beauty of Yellowstone National Park lies a terrible danger, one that could totally alter the entire Earth and would certainly kill an incredible number of people. The beautiful pools and geysers throughout the park are just the symptoms of a massive supervolcano 44 miles across that sits a few miles under the surface. And a new study sheds new light on the inner workings of this terrifying pit of magma.
Someday, scientists believe, Yellowstone will erupt, creating destruction that is thousands of times more than the huge Mount St. Helens eruption back in 1980. Fortunately, although this supervolcano is due to erupt soon, we are talking soon on a history-of-the-Earth scale, so soon is most likely thousands of years away.
But the truth is we don’t know when it could blow, and scientists are trying to do a better job of studying it. Scientists in Oregon recently published a paper that attempts to help us understand the magma bodies that sit under Yellowstone, which could help us better understand its inner workings and thus make more accurate predictions on when it might erupt.
“Using supercomputer modeling, University of Oregon scientists have unveiled a new explanation for the geology underlying recent seismic imaging of magma bodies below Yellowstone National Park,” reads a statement from the university. “Yellowstone, a supervolcano famous for explosive eruptions, large calderas and extensive lava flows, has for years attracted the attention of scientists trying to understand the location and size of magma chambers below it. The last caldera forming eruption occurred 630,000 years ago; the last large volume of lava surfaced 70,000 years ago.”