Yellowstone Supervolcano

Thousands of people each year go to visit Yellowstone National Park to watch the awe inspiring geysers with the most famous geyser being Old Faithful. But there are several people that do not realize that Yellowstone is actually a volcano, but even more so there are yet even more people that do not realize that it’s more than just a simple volcano such as Mount St. Helens; it is in fact a supervolcano, which means the eruption of Mount St. Helens in the 80s was a poof of smoke compared to a Yellowstone eruption.  It has erupted a few times before and erupts roughly every 600,000 years and the last time it erupted was around 640,000 years ago. Which means it’s 40,000 years overdue, but history will tell you, nature happens occurs when it wants to. The thing about Yellowstone that makes it a supervolcano is the fact that it is a caldera, which is a collapsed volcano. Only the largest eruptions cause this, as seen with Krakatoa, another supervolcano. And even that eruption can’t compare to Yellowstone’s last eruption. But don’t fear yet, the Park’s level of alert is normal despite the several non-official websites that claim an impending eruption.

The last great eruption covered everything West of the Mississippi River in ash. With an eruption like that, the U.S. economy and even the world economy would take a powerful blow. It would send the world into what is similar to a nuclear winter creating the possibilty of another iceage. And in any case, this explosive eruption will be on an apocalyptic scale. There are several supervolcanoes on this planet with three or four of them located here in North America. But it all comes down to what the largest supervolcano is and how big of a threat it is. And obviously, Yellowstone is in fact the largest supervolanco and the biggest potential threat for a mass extinction.

Yellowstone covers a large area in the midwest United States. It is the largest, both distance size and eruption size, volcano on the planet. It runs roughly 240 cubic miles across the plains of the United States. While Mauna Loa in Hawaii is the largest volcano height wise, it simply does not compare to Yellowstone both in distance and eruption size. When Yellowstone does erupt, it will be felt around the world both through the cloud of ash that will drift across the planet and the massive earthquakes an eruption of this size would entail.

With all said and done, Yellowstone is both a wonder and a threat. While the wonder of Yellowstone is still intact, everyone should go and visit the amazing geysers that it produces each and everyday. And don’t forget to visit Old Faithful, the most famous geyser. It’s only a matter of time before this supervolcano lives up to its title and reputation. After all, it is 40,000 years overdue. When the eruption does happen, the surrounding land will not be the same. It’s only a matter of time at this point. Go visit!


From watching MegaDisasters on the History Channel.

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2 Responses to Yellowstone Supervolcano

  1. mattgwilt says:

    I thought this piece was very interesting. I didn’t know that there were more than one collasped volcanoes. Also I didn’t know that the yellowstone volcanoe was 40,000 years overdue. It seems ridiculous that that much damage could come from one single natural disaster. – Matt Gwilt

  2. drew alderman says:

    One reason that Yellowstone is potentially dangerous is it has a very high content of rhyolite. This rhyolite can make the volcano very explosive.

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