February 16, 2014
Yellowstone Volcano More than Twice as Big as Expected
A sleeping giant lies gently snoring in the northwestern quadrant of the United States—the Yellowstone Super Volcano. Researchers from the University of Utah recently determined its magma chamber to be 2.5 times larger than previously thought, measuring at least 55 x 20 miles and running between 3 and 9 miles below the surface of the earth.
Professor Bob Smith of the University of Utah was surprised by these findings. Smith states, “We’ve been working there for a long time, and we’ve always thought it would be bigger…but this finding is astounding.”
Unlike the traditional cone-shaped mountains of Mt.St. Helens and the Lassen Volcano—the two most recent volcanoes to erupt in the 48 contiguous United States —the Yellowstone Volcano has a wide, slightly bulging area. However, its surface is rising at the rate of about three inches per year, and according to Professor Smith, seismic activity in the area is increasing.
Impact of an Eruption of the Super Volcano
If Yellowstone really blew its top, scientists estimate that much of the United States and western Canada would be uninhabitable. Lava, poisonous gases, and a potential ten-foot layer of ash would cover the ground up to 1,000 miles away. Living in much of North America would become unbearable.
The eruption would drastically affect climates in various parts of the world, just like after the 1816 eruption of Mt. Tambora in Indonesia. This eruption was the main cause of crop failures throughout the northeastern U.S. and much of Europe. 1816 became known as the miserable “year without a summer.” Sheep and migratory birds died of the cold—in June.
For more details about the Yellowstone Super Volcano, check out the New York Post article, “Beneath Yellowstone, a Volcano that could wipe out the U.S.”
Although scientists predict that the Yellowstone Volcano will not erupt for at least another 60,000 years, realizing that events like volcanic eruptions can cause food shortages suggests that it’s important to prepare before an emergency hits. Since disasters are unpredictable, we encourage building a supply now.
In addition to storing food, having an emergency kit would give you an edge on survival if any natural disaster or emergency happens in your area and you need to evacuate. If you’re not sure of potential dangers that may exist where you live, do a little research so that you can be as prepared as possible for any event.
Photo of the "Crested Pool Hot Spring" at Yellowstone in same area as the Super Volcano
Photo Courtesy of the New York Post