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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Yellowstone Super-Volcano Closer To Eruption?

Underground Yellowstone 'supervolcano' causing earth to rise 

Scientists are predicting that the world's largest super-volcano in one of America's most popular national parks could be showing signs of an eruption sooner than we would hope. Yellowstone National Park's caldera has erupted three times in the last 2.1million years and researchers monitoring it say we could be in for another eruption.


Researchers report the super-volcano underneath the state of Wyoming has been rising at a record rate since 2004. Its floor has gone up three inches per year for the last three years indicating the fastest rate since records began in 1923.
~ Mitch Battros

It's like something one of those disaster movie trailers with a basso profundo voiceover: Man, or perhaps woman, on a family vacation takes in the breathtaking scope of nature found in Yellowstone National Park--only to see the earth beneath their feet violently explode. Will our hero and his or her family be swallowed in the molten horror of -- "Supervolcano"?
But this scenario isn't the stuff of Hollywood fantasy--scientists caution that there's a chance that Yellowstone could blow. One day, anyway.
Yes, there apparently exists an underground volcano whose past eruptions -- the last one estimated at some 640,000 years ago -- have been, according to National Geographic, "a thousand times more powerful than Mount St. Helens's 1980 eruption." The supervolcano lurks a few miles underground and spreads out across an area roughly the size of Los Angeles. But here's the best part: It's taking deep "breaths," as the magazine puts it, causing miles of ground around it to rise dramatically. Since 2004, researchers say that the ground above the supervolcano rose as much as 2.8 inches per year.
Gases and hot rock beneath Yellowstone have expanded causing miles of ground to rise dramatically. Scientists monitoring the area believe a swelling magma reservoir six miles underground may be causing the recent uplifts.
Here's a video from National Geographic explaining more:

So is the "swelling magma reservoir" ready to blow? Well, scientists say it will eventually--and when it does it could spew ash as high as 25 miles into the air, rendering an estimated two-thirds of the country inhabitable. Remember, it was a massive volcanic eruption that some scientists think wiped out the dinosaurs. And here we thought that Icelandic volcano last year was a major calamity.

University of Utah's Bob Smith, an expert in Yellowstone's volcanism made this statement: "It's an extraordinary uplift (caldera rise), because it covers such a large area and the rates are so high. At the beginning we were concerned it could be leading up to an eruption."

Smith adds: "Once we saw the magma was at a depth of ten kilometers, we weren't so concerned. If it had been at depths of two or three kilometer we'd have been a lot more concerned."


Volcanologists estimate a Yellowstone eruption would produce a force a thousand times more powerful than the Mount St Helens in 1980. Yellowstone will spew lava far into the sky and a cloud of ash would darken the skies changing weather patterns for years to come. The ash itself will fan out one thousand miles away returning to the ground with a layer 10 feet deep.

See below for National Geographic's photos (full slideshow here; article here); photos taken by Mark Thiessen on assignment for National Geographic magazine's August 2009 issue.

National Geographic

L.M.Tatman-Gelabert, Florida 'Global Rumblings' correspondent
Brett Michael Dykes, Yahoo News, 'The Lookout' blog
Mitch Battros, 'Earth Changes Media'

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1 comment:

  1. Anonymous11:24 AM

    I've read that the US Government is building an explosion proof, park wide bio-dome. I read about it at a site called Weekly World News. I think that the address is


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