Yellowstone supervolcano could blow faster than thought, destroy all of mankind

GETTYA Yellowstone eruption could destroy life on Earth

Kari Cooper, a geochemist at the University of California, Davis, who was not involved in the research, told the Times that while the research gives more insights into the time frames of supervolcanic eruptions, she is not convinced that they can target a precise trigger of the last Yellowstone event. The supervolcano under Yellowstone is a beast that hasn't erupted in more than 630,000 years, so this development is interesting to note.

The supervolcano is hiding underneath the Yellowstone National Park, which is a secret natural force that has potentials to cover the United States in to ash and transform the world in to the volcanic winter.

Researchers estimate that the supervolcano could send more than 1,000 cubic kilometers of rock and ash spewing into the sky, according to a New York Times report.

The previous eruption occurred in about the same timeframe before that - 1.3 million years ago - meaning that the volcano may be primed for another explosion.

Hannah Shamloo, an Arizona State University graduate student, and a volcanology team spent two weeks at the national park in Wyoming studying the massive crater to predict when the next super-eruption might occur. As the crystals grew outward, layer upon layer, they recorded changes in temperature, pressure and water content beneath the volcano, much like a set of tree rings.

"We expected that there might be processes happening over thousands of years preceding the eruption", said Till said in an interview with the New York Times. What they discovered surprised them - the changes in temperature and composition only took a few decades, much faster than the centuries previously thought.

Based on the latest study, it appears the magma can rapidly refresh - making the volcano potentially explosive in the geologic blink of an eye.

"It's shocking how little time is required to take a volcanic system from being quiet and sitting there to the edge of an eruption", Shamloo told The Times, cautioning that more research is necessary before definite conclusions can be drawn.

As comforting as that may be, new research out of Arizona State University is far less so. The information suggests an eruption is possible in just a matter of decades.

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