Scientists have discovered that one of the reservoirs underneath the Yellowstone Caldera, a huge crater and supervolcano in northwest Wyoming, holds far more liquid molten rock, or magma, than previously believed. This is relevant, they say, because the more magma, the more likely a volcano is to erupt.
The scientists noted that an eruption from Yellowstone’s supervolcano would likely kill 90,000 people almost instantly and blanket the United States in a “nuclear winter,” releasing a ten-foot-tall layer of molten ash as far as 1,000 miles from the park. Sunlight would be blocked, and temperatures would plummet. All of which would have a disastrous effect on our food supply.
This is yet another reason not to overreact to the alleged warming of the planet. If we were somehow successful at cooling the planet on our own, via crazy ideas like shooting vast quantities of dust or reflective material into the atmosphere, and there was subsequently a supervolcano eruption, it could be curtains for life on Earth. That would be ironic. And we would be a bit chagrined.
Though scientists say it’s not likely that Wyoming’s supervolcano will erupt any time soon, it has done so three times before. And it is not the only supervolcano on the planet.
There are thought to be 12 supervolcanoes on Earth-- each one at least seven times larger than Mount Tambora, which had the biggest eruption in recorded history.