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Yellowstone supervolcano eruption could wipe out life on Earth

13 October 2017, 04:24 | Justin Tyler

Yellowstone supervolcano eruption could wipe out life on Earth

Sleeping’ supervolcanoes ‘could erupt much more quickly than we thought

Researchers, who were studying and analyzing the supervolcano present beneath the Yellowstone National Park, have revealed that the supervolcano could blow much faster sooner than previously expected and its early eruption could wipe out life on Earth. Researchers say that we may have less advance warning time than we thought before the eruption actually occurred. Prior to that, it was 1.3 million years ago, per a report from ZME Science. Researchers at Arizona State University said that the supervolcano has been triggered after two influxes of fresh magma flowed into the reservoir below the caldera.

The last time Yellowstone erupted - 631,000 years ago - it shot out 1,000 cubic kilometres of rock and ash, choking the sky and creating a 72km-wide caldera that still exists today. Scientists also think the reservoir is drained after every monster blast, so they thought it should take a long time to refill.

A 2013 study, for instance, showed that the magma reservoir that feeds the supervolcano is about two and a half times larger than previous estimates.

Based on the latest study, it appears the magma can rapidly refresh - making the volcano potentially explosive in the geological blink of an eye.

The ASU scientists studied minerals in fossilized ash around the volcano and discovered that the critical changes in temperature and composition that would signal an impending eruption occurred in a matter of decades, not centuries, National Geographic reported.


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.

Shamloo and Till previously presented their research at a 2016 meeting held by the American Geophysical Union.

"It's an extraordinary uplift, because it covers such a large area and the rates are so high", Bob Smith, a Yellowstone expert at the University of Utah, told National Geographic at the time.

In June, nearly 400 earthquakes hit the Yellowstone supervolcano, but researchers said that it was not a case of worry.

Yellowstone is one of the world's most monitored volcano sites, under constant surveillance from satellites and ground-based monitoring stations.



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