So have you already made plans for your summer vacation well apparently there’s an ever so slight chance that you won’t be able to live them out wild rumors on the internet and elsewhere have it that the world might cease to exist at literally any moment and the Yellowstone supervolcano may be to blame oh boy sure sounds scary but hey let’s check the facts first Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming USA is America’s very first National Park you might also know that Yellowstone sits on top of a giant supervolcano that’s part of the reason the park can boast it’s amazing geysers and hot springs but at the same time underneath Yellowstone there’s an enormous chamber full of hot liquid rock called magma.
What researchers from the University of Utah found out
In 2015 researchers from the University of Utah found that this chamber is much bigger than previously thought they found one more reservoir with magma under the top one the more spacious the Chamber’s are the more magma they contain together the two reservoirs contain a glob of magma which is 44 miles wide 30 miles long and 12 miles deep in fact all this magma could easily fill the Grand Canyon not once but 11 times now some people are worried that the magma chambers are pushing against the ground above them this causes the land to rise approximately 3 inches a yea.
According to scientific estimates the level of the ground over the volcano increased by about one foot between 2004 and 2011 so doesn’t that mean something isn’t going as it’s supposed to well don’t start shouting doomsday just yet the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory states that this process either stopped or seriously slowed down in 2015 and since then nothing too exciting has been going on with a volcano besides experts say that the ground rising and falling is how the Yellowstone supervolcano breathes it just moves up and down without erupting also Yellowstone does have the status of an active volcano and it’s volcanic explosivity index is 8 out of 10 it’s a high number for sure but it doesn’t mean that if this volcano erupts it’ll be an apocalyptic event and well they say that more than 1,000 bison have recently left the Park Yellowstone management doesn’t connect this fact with any potential danger hey maybe the grass is greener elsewhere.
What would happen if the Yellowstone supervolcano erupted?
Let’s also not forget that Yellowstone’s last major volcanic eruption was nearly 700 thousand years ago long before humankind appeared but just for curiosity’s sake let’s have a look at what would happen if the Yellowstone supervolcano erupts would it be the end of the world or a more localized natural disaster well here’s the worst-case scenario right before the eruption the ground around the National Park would lift geothermal pools and geysers would heat up to superheated temperatures well above its current 205 degrees fahrenheit.
In addition they get even more acidic than usual magma would start to rise to the surface in one moment the roof rock of the magma chambers wouldn’t be able to resist anymore and the eruption would kick off a massive column of lava and ash could explode upward to a height of over 16 miles after that it’d keep pumping ash for days on end such a mixture of lava ash and gas would be hotter than 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit moreover it would move at the speed of around 300 miles per hour the air near the center of the eruption would heat up to nearly 600 degrees yet.
What would be the worst thing?
The most treacherous consequence of the supervolcano eruption would be the ash fall out be sure to get your umbrellas out and put on your gas masks if you inhaled this substance it would turn into a glassy cement in your lungs in a matter of seconds you can probably imagine how bad the outcome could be and since ash is a dense substance buildings would eventually start to collapse under its weight it would take just days until a ten-foot layer of ash covered an area of about 50 miles around the center of the eruption Salt Lake City in the neighboring areas would receive three and a half feet of ash.
A thin layer of ash would also blanket Los Angeles San Francisco Chicago and even farther cities like New York Miami in Toronto the ash would make water unsafe to drink vehicles would break down for some time there would be no flights to or from North America and for once no long lines at airport TSA security once the ash reached the stratosphere temperatures in parts of the world would drop especially if the eruption were very rich and sulfur since this substance is effectively a Sun blocker temperatures would drop so low that there would be no summer in some parts of the world for the next several years the monsoon seasons would change agriculture would have serious problems which would create disruptions in food supplies the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
FEMA has estimated that the potential damage would be above three trillion dollars in the US alone but hey take a breath this is the worst case scenario and according to the scientists from the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory it’s very unlikely to happen they’re sure that based on their research and observations if an eruption did occur it wouldn’t be very explosive.
The Lava Creek Eruption
Its most probable outcome would just be your typical lava flow there have already been three super eruptions in the history of Yellowstone but they happen 2.1 million years ago 1.3 million years ago and 640 thousand years ago the latest one got the name the lava Creek eruption it created the Yellowstone Caldera and ejected a staggering 240 cubic miles of rock dust and volcanic ash into the sky well that sounds pretty impressive even though there haven’t been any major volcanic eruptions at Yellowstone since anyway.
How can humankind get out of danger?
Even if a super eruption was imminent scientists may have found the solution that would help humankind get out of danger NASA researchers have suggested a seemingly logical plan to just cool down the Yellowstone supervolcano the thinking behind this is that the volcano leaks out only 70 percent of the heat from its magma filled chambers the rest of the heat stays inside as soon as the heat reaches a particular threshold the volcano will erupt that’s why if it was possible to extract even 35% of the heat from the Yellowstone volcano the eruption could be avoided magma gets thicker and stickier when it’s in a cooler state once it loses this fluidity it’ll stop trying to get out to the surface one of the ways to cool down the supervolcano would be to add more water to its insides unfortunately that’s next to impossible first of all it’s incredibly expensive and difficult to build an aqueduct in the mountainous area it would also lead to huge water expenditures.
Then NASA scientists came up with a different plan they suggested drilling a six mile deep well and pumping down cold pressurized water the temperature of the water that would return would be approximately 600 degrees Fahrenheit this way the heat would gradually be extracted from the volcano and if a geothermal plant were built on the site it would be able to generate electric power thanks to the simplicity of its production this electric power would have an amazing price of 10 cents per kilowatt hour unfortunately this plan has a number of drawbacks first the deepest drill hole on the planet is currently about 40 thousand feet deep that sounds deep enough but this borehole is only nine inches in diameter as you can imagine for thousands of cubic miles of magma it’s nothing more than a pinprick there also exists a risk of triggering the eruption if people accidentally drilled into the magma and tried to cool the volcano from there this could make the top of the chamber much more fragile.
As a result it would become more prone to breakage on top of that it could cause the release of the toxic gases that accumulate at the top of the reservoir this danger might be avoided if specialists started to drill the lower side of the supervolcano for example somewhere on the outskirts of Yellowstone National Park in this way the heat wouldn’t be able to reach the top chamber this approach sounds really good until you learn one little detail the duration of such a drilling project would take thousands of years as in 16,000 years the problem is that by using this method you can’t cool the volcano faster than a rate of 3 feet a year on top of tahat scientists aren’t 100% sure that the volcano will stay cold for at least a hundred years after they finished the project and last but not least the job of cooling down the Yellowstone supervolcano would cost 3.5 billion dollars that’s a big price for such a controversial project.
What’s the probability of a massive eruption?
In any case, scientists believe that people don’t have to worry about a super eruption for another hundred years or even longer according to the United States Geological Survey the yearly probability of a massive eruption is one in 700,000 this probability is nearly the same as that of a big asteroid crashing into Earth another fun fact to consider what’s more there’s no scientifically proved evidence that any of these events are likely to happen anytime soon if ever and I’m very happy about that aren’t you do you believe that the Yellowstone supervolcano will erupt in the near future share your opinion in the comment section below …!!!