Are We Sitting On A Super Volcano?
There is a massive volcanic caldera bubbling and boiling beneath Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming which is responsible for most of the stunning geysers there, including Ol’ Faithful. What you may not know is that because of continental drift, this super volcano used to be directly beneath the Magic Valley. Researchers now believe this caldera is a “Super Volcano” that erupts about every 600,000 years. And it’s overdue. From the Daily Mail:
Yellowstone’s caldera has erupted three times in the last 2.1million years and researchers monitoring it say we could be in for another eruption. They said that the super-volcano underneath the Wyoming park has been rising at a record rate since 2004 – its floor has gone up three inches per year for the last three years alone, the fastest rate since records began in 1923.
What’s going on below the surface?
Scientists monitoring it believe that a swelling magma reservoir six miles underground may be causing the recent uplifts. They have also been keeping an eye on a ‘pancake-shaped blob’ of molten rock he size of Los Angeles which was pressed into the volcano some time ago.
But due the extreme conditions it has been hard to work out what exactly is going on down below, leading researchers unable to say with certainty what will happen – or when. Since the most recent blast 640,000 years ago there have been around 30 smaller eruptions, the most recent of which was 70,000 years ago.
So what does this mean for us in the Magic Valley? If the Super Volcano did erupt, it would spew lava far into the sky and create a cloud of plant-killing ash that would fan out and dump a layer 10 feet deep up to 1,000 miles away. Two-thirds of the U.S. could become uninhabitable as toxic air sweeps through it, grounding thousands of flights and forcing millions to leave their homes. Being so near to the epicenter of the disaster, Twin Falls and surrounding areas wouldn’t fare well.
Via Daily Mail.