Published On: Wed, Oct 11th, 2017

Yellowstone volcano WARNING: Catastrophic eruption would destroy ALL life on Earth

New research shows pressure beneath Yellowstone could build much quicker than previously thought, and such an eruption could make Earth uninhabitable.

Research presented by the Arizona State University at a recent meeting in Oregon goes against previous findings which that it could take thousands of years to build up.

Scientists say it could happen within tens of years after a study analysing crystals in volcanic rocks found in the area.

As the crystals grew, they were increasingly prone to being influenced by their surroundings, such as pressure, heat and water content.

Shortly before an eruption, the researchers found that there was an extremely fast build up in pressure and temperature surrounding the crystals – showing that pressure beneath the surface of the powerful volcano built rapidly.

Lead researcher Hannah Shamloo, of Arizona State University, told the New York Times: “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.”

Her colleague Chrissy Hill added: “We expected that there might be processes happening over thousands of years preceding the eruption.”

However, they stated that chances of an eruption do remain small, but there would be much less of a warning if Yellowstone were to blow.

Recently, the volcano in Wyoming, USA, has experienced a near-record earthquake swarm beneath the surface, prompting fears that it is about to blow.

The usually peaceful volcano has now experienced some 2,750 tremors since June 12 which could indicate that it is ready to burst back into life.

This is the second most active swarm of quakes since records began.

But, US Geological Survey (USGS) Mike Poland says the swarm is likely nothing to worry about, but it will help experts learn more about the powerful supervolcano.

He told Newsweek: “This is the sort of work that will happen in the months to come, as we gather up all of the available data and start crunching numbers.”

The Yellowstone Caldera supervolcano last erupted 70,000 years ago.

If the volcano were to erupt it would kill an estimated 87,000 people immediately and make two-thirds of the USA immediately uninhabitable. 

The large spew of ash into the atmosphere would block out sunlight and directly affect life beneath it creating a “nuclear winter”.

The massive eruption could be a staggering 6,000 times as powerful as the one from Washington’s Mount St Helens in 1980 which killed 57 people and deposited ash in 11 different states and five Canadian provinces.

If the volcano explodes, a climate shift would ensue as the volcano would spew massive amounts of sulphur dioxide into the atmosphere, which can form a sulphur aerosol that reflects and absorbs sunlight.

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