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Yellowstone's supervolcano may erupt sooner than expected

13 October 2017

According to National Geographic, researchers at Arizona State University analyzed minerals in fossilized ash and concluded that the supervolcano woke up after "two influxes of fresh magma flowed into the reservoir below the caldera". Previously, geologists had thought it took millennia.

The disaster has a capability to erupt materials as 2500 times more than that from the Mount St. Helens, which is an active composite volcano occurred 1980 at Skamania County in Washington, which had killed 57 people.

Researchers studying at Yellowstone National Park believe a supervolcano resting beneath the popular Wyoming destination could erupt sooner rather than later - and the results could be devastating. An eruption would send an untold amount of rock and ash into the sky, unleash torrents of lava, and potentially bring about a planetary volcanic winter. There, they hauled rocks under the heat of the sun to gather samples, occasionally suspending their work when a bison or a bear roamed nearby.

According to The Times, Shamloo later analyzed crystals from the team's dig that recorded changes in temperature, pressure and water content beneath the volcano - much like a set of tree rings.

Researchers have found that, during previous eruptions, there were changes in temperatures that led to the blast that occurred much quicker than we knew before.

So, yes, geologically speaking, an eruption of the supervolcano could happen sooner than previously thought.

As comforting as that may be, new research out of Arizona State University is far less so.

"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. It's one thing to think about this slow gradual buildup - it's another thing to think about how you mobilize 1,000 cubic kilometers of magma in a decade. The information suggests an eruption is possible in just a matter of decades.

Yellowstone's supervolcano may erupt sooner than expected