Here’s What Would Happen If The Supervolcano Under Yellowstone Erupted

Published: July 12, 2016


Here’s What Would Happen If The Supervolcano Under Yellowstone Erupted
, Yellowstone is well known for its “Old Faithful” geyser and its stunning wildlife.

But the national park also sits atop a supervolcano, simmering just under the surface. You can see some of the evidence of its active state in the hydrothermal activity that bubbles up, including the Old Faithful geyser that shoots up water every few hours.

Supervolcanos are characterized as volcanic centers that have had eruptions that covered more than 240 cubic miles. The US has two: Yellowstone, and another at Long Valley in California.

Yellowstone has had three major events in the past 2.1 million years, which led to the creation of the calderas, or large volcanic craters.

Scientists don’t think Yellowstone’s supervolcano will be erupting any time soon (at least, not in the next thousand years.) So if you’re planning a trip there, you shouldn’t be too concerned.

If it did erupt, it could have some pretty extreme effects on the surrounding areas.

For starters, the eruption could emit ash that would expand over a 500-mile area (seen below). For comparison, this map shows the area that the Mount St. Helens 1980 eruption ash reached.

 Here's What Would Happen If The Supervolcano Under Yellowstone Erupted

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