What if Yellowstone’s supervolcano erupts?
By Natalie Wolchover | Life’s Little Mysteries
A rough estimate based on geologic records indicates there’s a 1-in-10,000 chance of a "supereruption" at Yellowstone during our lifetimes. However, given the erratic nature of volcanoes, that number doesn’t mean much. The bulging pocket of magma swishing around beneath Old Faithful might never blow its lid again. Or, it might put on a surprise fireworks show next Independence Day. Scientists just don’t know.
But if or when it blows, what will actually happen? Will it be the end of us all, or just a big knock to the tourism industry in Wyoming?
Yellowstone National Park, 2011. (Photo: ZUMA Press)
Each of the three past supereruptions of the Yellowstone hotspot spewed more than 1,000 cubic kilometers of magma into the environment — the benchmark of a "supervolcano." According to Jacob Lowenstern, scientist-in-charge at the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory, that’s a large enough eruption to cover much of North America in an ash blanket of varying thickness.
"The ash is thick (more than about 30 centimeters of ash) near the eruption source and a small fraction of a millimeter once you move 2,000 miles away. It’s fair to say that a trace of ash would be found over most of the United States, though it would only be thick enough to collapse roofs in the states closest to Yellowstone," Lowenstern told Life’s Little Mysteries.
With enough warning, the states near Yellowstone could be evacuated, which would largely avoid a tremendous loss of life caused by the downpour of ash, the scientists said. But that’s just in the short term; the aftermath would be the rub. For several days, ash would hang in the air, making it difficult to breathe. And that blanket of ash covering the country would smother vegetation and pollute the water supply, quickly leading to a nationwide food crisis. "A lot of people would perish," said Stephen Self, director of the Volcano Dynamics Group at the Open University in the U.K. He envisions American refugees lining up at the Mexican border.
Perhaps foreign governments would come to our aid and embark on a major ash cleanup operation, but without such an effort, inhospitable conditions would persist in the midwestern U.S. for about a decade.
"The records show that [new] vegetation starts to take hold about 10 years after supereruptions. It depends on how much rainfall the area receives, as rainfall is the main way you clear ash off the land," Self said.
As for the rest of the world, it would face a few years of mild climate change caused by the supereruption’s ash cloud, which would wrap around the globe, casting Earth in shadow for several days and altering the chemical composition of the atmosphere for a decade or so. However, recent research shows the global impacts of supervolcanoes are less severe than scientists once thought, and a Yellowstone supereruption might be especially unimposing because its magma contains minimal sulfur. Sulfur gas produces particles called aerosols, which can cool the climate by blocking sunlight.
"The huge volume of magma means there would still be some sulfur injected into the atmosphere, but work has shown that you reach a sort of limit in the amount of aerosols you can produce with sulfur gas. It means that our earlier suggestions that there would be a severe temperature change is not right," Self said.
Based on the new models, the scientists now think the vast majority of Earth’s species would weather a Yellowstone supereruption just fine (except, of course, for those knocked out due to proximity of the initial blast). They don’t see any evidence in the geologic record of mass extinctions coinciding with supereruptions, and they don’t predict extinctions to result from such geologic events in the future.
"The last time Yellowstone erupted, no extinctions took place," said Michael Rampino, a biologist and geologist at New York University. "Supereruptions are not extinction-level events," he said, but added that they can obviously cause problems for civilization.
Read the full article at: mothernaturenetwork.com
Video from: YouTube.com
Video from: YouTube.com
Also tune into:
Mary Sean Young - Hour 2 - The Government Lie & Planned Catastrophe
Robert Schoch - Hour 2 - Forgotten Civilization & Catastrophic Solar Outbursts
Will Hart - Solar Flare Apocalypse & Comets
Barbara Hand Clow - Hour 1 - Catastrophobia & The Archons
Richard Sauder - Fuk-u-shima, Nuclear Catastrophe & Collective Karma
Edmund Marriage - Global Catastrophe, Restart of Civilization & The Anu-Nagi (The Shining Ones)
Geoff Stray - Beyond 2012: Catastrophe or Ecstasy
Robert Felix - The Coming Ice Age
Tim Ball - Climategate & The Anthropogenic Global Warming Fraud
Scott Stevens - Weather Wars, Chemtrails, Gulf Oil Spill & Environmental Destruction
Cosmographic Research: Catastrophism and Ancient Cultures
Cyprus naval blast a ’catastrophe of biblical proportions’
Are We Prepared for a Catastrophic Solar Storm?
Emergency Special Report: Japan’s Earthquake, Hidden Nuclear Catastrophe
Apocalypse how? Revealing the next catastrophic threat to our world
Latest News from our Front Page
UK Police Tell Subjects Not to Harm Their Attackers, Get a Rape Alarm
The latest dispatch from the United Kingdom’s ongoing campaign to eliminate all forms of armed self-defense seems too incredible to be true. Unfortunately, after tracking down the origin of a publicly distributed statement regarding self-defense products on the country’s “Ask the Police” website, we can confirm that British subjects continue to live at the mercy of their potential attackers. Even ...
Activists Plan to Burn American Flags in New York City Ahead of Fourth of July
Burning the flag in Charleston, South Carolina on June 22, 2015
A group calling for the immediate disarmament of the New York Police Department plans to burn American flags in a Brooklyn park on Wednesday, just days before the Fourth of July holiday.
“Disarm NYPD” announced the “Burn the American Flags” event on Facebook, inviting individuals to join the organization at Fort ...
Ruiz: Diversity of New York City languages makes staying involved in kidsâ€™ education difficult for immigrant parents
Immigrant parent seek better translation and interpretation services from the Department of Education at the New York Immigration Coalition.
New Yorkers, who come from every corner of the world, speak 180 languages. Not surprisingly, nearly half of public school students speak a language other than English at home.
This makes life difficult for the city's Department of Education, which, according to federal ...
Ethnic Studies to Become Mandatory in Sacramento Schools by 2016
The fourth most diverse school district in the nation is finally adding an ethnic studies graduation requirementâ€”in 2020.
The Sacramento City Unified School District's Board of Trustees unanimously approved the proposal from its Student Advisory Council on June 4. The proposal will create an ethnic studies pilot program for fall 2016.
In collaboration with community organizations, local university professors and college students, ...
It Begins: New Calls To Strip Churches of Tax Exempt Status After Same-Sex Marriage Ruling
For years conservatives and proponents of religious liberty in America have warned that if same-sex marriage became legal, the left would then pursue revoking the tax exempt status for religious institutions, particularly Christian churches, around the country.
Just days after the Supreme Court ruled in a 5-4 decision that gay marriage is a constitutional right, progressive activists like Mark Oppenheimer of ...
|More News » |