Super-Eruption Takes Place More Often Than Estimated
GEOLOGY Volcanoes make up a geological threat that could be destructive on a global scale. In case of a super-eruption, 1,000 gigatonnes of volcanic material would be ejected, burying continents under ash. Material will also rise into the air and potentially alter global weather systems for decades.
Scientists from the University of Bristol have gone through geological data to find out how often super-eruptions have taken place. The frequency of the major eruptions is higher than volcanologists used to think. “The previous estimate from 2004 was that super-eruptions took place at intervals of 45,000714,000 years – longer than our modern civilisation has existed. But according to our calculations, it was rather at intervals of 5,200-48,000 years – with 17,000 years being the typical frequency,” says statistics professor Jonathan Rougier.
The two most recent supereruptions took place 20,000 and 30,000 years ago. So, we have been lucky, the scientists think.
However, they also emphasise that nature is hard to predict precisely, when it comes to volcanic eruptions. So a supereruption could be imminent... or it could still be thousands of years away. Let's hope for the latter.
According to the scientists, the calculation methods are also to be used to learn more about other geological threats such as earthquakes in the future.
Under the lakes of the Yellowstone national park in the US, there is liquid magma, which might at some point cause a super-eruption.