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
41% of Americans Support Criminalizing "Hate Speech"
The following are from a recent poll about what some are calling on for "hate speech"
1. Support for Hate Crimes Legislation
Do you support or oppose the federal law that requires increased penalties for hate crimes committed on the basis of the actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, ethnicity, or gender of any person?
2. Support for Expanding Hate Crimes
FBI Admits No Major Cases Cracked with Patriot Act Snooping Powers
FBI agents canâ€™t point to any major terrorism cases theyâ€™ve cracked thanks to the key snooping powers in the Patriot Act, the Justice Departmentâ€™s inspector general said in a report Thursday that could complicate efforts to keep key parts of the law operating.
Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz said that between 2004 and 2009, the FBI tripled its use of bulk ...
Sweetener Stevia Was Once Hailed As An Anti-Fertility Agent for Population Reduction
Maybe it's not so sweet now... If you've thought stevia, the natural alternative to sugar and artificial sweetners with aspartame, et al., is too good to be true, there may be a catch. Check out this textbook written in 1970 by Paul and Anne Ehrlich, the precursor to the textbook Ecoscience they wrote with Obama Science Czar John P. Holdren ...
TPP Aproved: Senate Republicans Give Obama New Powers - Details Remain 'Classified'
President Obama won a big victory for his trade agenda Friday with the Senateâ€™s approval of fast-track legislation that could make it easier for him to complete a wide-ranging trade deal that would include 11 Pacific Rim nations.
A coalition of 48 Senate Republicans and 14 Democrats voted for Trade Promotion Authority late Friday, sending the legislation to a difficult fight ...
Circumcision battle: Mom seeks release from jail after federal lawsuit is dismissed
West Boynton mother on Wednesday gave up trying to get a federal judge to stop her 4 1/2-year-old son from being circumcised as his father wishes â€” a battle that also led to her arrest May 14 on a state court warrant.
An attorney for Heather Hironimus, who lost similar legal challenges in two state courts, notified U.S. District Judge Kenneth ...
|More News » |