Yellowstone Supervolcano Video

Yellowstone Supervolcano Video

CNN recently ran a great video article on the  Yellowstone Supervolcano.  Watch the (under 7 minute) article if you have time but here are the highlights:

  • The Yellowstone area often experiences hundreds of earthquakes per day and thousands per year
  • The Yellowstone Caldera (crater) covers an area of 3,000 square kilometers.  It’s so large that it doesn’t appear at all similar to the volcanic craters we keep in our mind’s eye
  • The most recent Yellowstone eruption expelled an estimated 650 cubic Kilometers of molten material.  That eruption was estimated to be 10,000 times more damaging than the 1980 Mount St. Helens eruption that I remember that eruption dropping ash on our neighborhood half a continent away.  Incidentally, that Mount St. Helens eruption also leveled everything within a 4,000 square kilometer area.
  • The eruption of Tambora in 1815 expelled an estimated 57 Cubic KM and resulted in what’s known as the Year Without Summer due to the record low temperatures.  Compare this with the estimated 965 cubic kilometers of magma the biggest Yellowstone eruption is believed to have expelled.
  • Yellowstone DangersThere are five additional supervolcanos in world (on land) including two others in the U.S.
    • Aira, Japan
    • Lake Taupo, New Zealand
    • Lake Toba, Indonesia
    • Long Valley, CA
    • Valles Caldera in NM
  • “Yellowstone has been getting hotter and hotter the last few years”
  • Yellowstone’s last eruption was about 70,000 years ago and was not a a supervolcanic eruption.
  • Even in its current state the Yellowstone Supervolcano is powerful.  Powerful enough heat to power a city of 2 million people if the geological heat could be harnessed
  • The Yellowstone Caldera began ‘breathing’ in 2004.  The ground rose 25cm until beginning to receding in 2010…kinda creepy!

Andrew’s Note:  If one of your concerns is rapid climate change then it doesn’t get much worse than a supervolcano eruption.  Any trigger event that can block out enough of the sun’s energy to turn summer into winter is worthy of respect…and study.

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