Yellowstone National Park in the United States, known as "the most unique and magical paradise on earth", is full of geysers, hot springs and beautiful lakes and mountains.
Yellowstone covers nearly 9,000 square kilometers and is located primarily in Wyoming, with other portions in Montana and Idaho.
The park is rich in landscapes with canyons, waterfalls and lakes, and has one of the largest forests in the world, with more than 10,000 hot springs and over 300 geysers.
As a world-renowned tourist destination, the park is also rich in flora and fauna, with as many as 322 species of birds and over 1,100 species of native plants.
However, many visitors linger on the beauty of the park, but also easy to ignore a fact: this park, buried under the Earth's largest "powder keg" - the Yellowstone super volcano.
Yellowstone Super Volcano
If you are involved in disaster movies, then you can see the scene of volcanic eruptions in many films. The movie "2012", for example, takes the Yellowstone super volcano eruption as the starting point to show the huge disaster of the coming end of the world.
What is a super volcano? At first there was no clear definition, but later, in geology, it was agreed that volcanoes that produce more than 450 cubic kilometers of magma when they erupt are called super volcanoes.
The amount of magma erupted was 50 times greater than the 1815 eruption of Tambora, Indonesia. In the 1950s, Yellowstone was officially recognized as a "super volcano".
What distinguishes the super volcano from ordinary volcanoes is that there is no cone as well as a significant mountain. Close to it, you do not see a raised mountain on the ground, but a vast flat area.
Deep in the flatlands is a huge magma accumulation area, which we call "magma reservoir". It is known that the magma reservoir under the Yellowstone volcano is about 70 km in diameter and no less than 10 km thick.
In addition to solar storms and celestial collisions, super volcanic eruptions are among the threats that have been listed as "potentially deadly" to humanity. So, how scary is a super volcanic eruption?
Yellowstone super volcano eruption, how scary is it?
Historically, there have been three major eruptions of the Yellowstone super volcano, 2.2 million years ago, 1.3 million years ago, and 640,000 years ago.
The eruption 2.2 million years ago was the largest of the three eruptions and ranks third in the history of volcanic eruptions in the world.
In this eruption, Yellowstone ejected 2,450 cubic kilometers of volcanic lava, erupting the equivalent of 1/9th of the total volume of water in the Great Lakes of North America, and covering half of the United States today with ash.
The second large eruption, 1.3 million years ago, was slightly smaller and erupted 280 cubic kilometers of material.
The most recent massive eruption, 640,000 years ago, created what Yellowstone looks like today, erupting volcanic ash that covered half of the United States.
The interval between these three massive eruptions was 600,000-800,000 years, so some experts speculated that the next eruption was approaching. What specific disasters would a super volcano eruption bring to mankind?
We can refer to the great eruption of Mount Tambora in Indonesia in 1815, which killed about 10,000 people directly and as many as 82,000 in the subsequent famine and epidemics. The following year there was no summer worldwide, and snow flew in June in the northeastern United States.
Tambora eruption produced about 150 cubic kilometers of material, so you can imagine how terrible the eruption of Yellowstone, which is a super volcano, is.
Bowen magazine has said that if the Yellowstone super volcano were to erupt, it would likely cause nearly 90,000 people to die almost simultaneously, with lava spreading throughout the park and ash covering the entire United States, causing respiratory illnesses and other hazards.
The population on the ground stops functioning, and most aviation is affected. Large amounts of ash enter the atmosphere, blocking sunlight and putting life below at immediate risk, creating a "nuclear winter".
This will be followed by global cooling, with the average temperature of the Earth being 10°C lower than it is now for about 10 years afterwards. This would be a huge challenge for not only agriculture, but for all living things on the planet (including humans).
Of course, the consequences described here, is the premise of experts to "Yellowstone volcano" eruption speculation, the disaster is certainly terrible, but we need to understand, it will not erupt in the near future.
When will the "trigger" be "pulled"?
In some forecasts, once the Yellowstone super volcano erupts, it will be a worldwide disaster, mankind will be in danger, human civilization will be destroyed.
Some experts say that the next eruption is imminent, based on the interval between the three major eruptions of Yellowstone volcano.
However, the reality is that the pattern of volcanic eruptions is not as accurate as an alarm clock, and it is very unscientific to infer the next eruption simply by using the time between eruptions.
Moreover, in addition to the 3 large eruptions, the historic Yellowstone volcano has experienced many smaller eruptions.
The magma reservoir of the Yellowstone volcano is 8 km or more deep from the surface, and if it erupts, it will not only take a long time, but will also show visible signs.
Physicist Cheverley, for example, pointed out that although the rate of surface uplift in Yellowstone Park in 2004-2009 was somewhat abnormal, there is no cause for concern in the long run.
He believes that the likelihood of a major eruption of the Yellowstone volcano is very small over a long period of time, and even if it does erupt, humans will be aware of it months or even years in advance and make contingency plans.
Scientists have monitored the Yellowstone volcano for decades, during which time there have been anomalies, but the geographic activity has been fairly smooth.
In conclusion, although the world has feared a major eruption of Yellowstone, there is no evidence that it will happen in the near future. If a major eruption were possible in the future, humans would be prepared in advance and would have more advanced response technology than they do today.
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