Humanity lucky not to have been blasted back in time
Human civilisation is lucky to have escaped a volcanic super-eruption powerful enough to blast us back to the Stone Age, say scientists.
Research suggests the average time between cataclysmic events is much less than previously thought.
Experts now believe the time interval to be only slightly longer than the age of civilisation, dating from the agricultural revolution 12,000 years ago.
Scientists have shown that super-eruptions, which can blanket an entire continent with volcanic ash and alter the climate on a global scale, would be capable of returning humanity to a pre-civilisation state.
According to geological records the two most recent super-eruptions occurred between 20,000 and 30,000 years ago.
Lead researcher Professor Jonathan Rougier, from Bristol University, said: “On balance, we have been slightly lucky not to experience any super-eruptions since then. But it is important to appreciate that the absence of super-eruptions in the last 20,000 years does not imply that one is overdue. Nature is not that regular.
“We can say that volcanoes are more threatening to our civilisation than previously thought.”