Supervolcano may blow sooner than thought
Scientists working in and around Yellowstone National Park say the supervolcano sitting under the tourist attraction might blow sooner than thought, an eruption that could wipe out life on the planet.
According to National Geographic, the researchers from Arizona State University analyzed minerals in fossilized ash from the most recent megaeruption and found changes in temperature and composition that had only taken a few decades. Until now, the magazine reported, geologists had thought it would take centuries for the supervolcano to make the transition.
The researchers, The New York Times reported, have determined that the supervolcano has the ability to spew more than 1,000 cubic kilometers of rock and ash — 2,500 times more material than erupted from Mount St. Helens in 1980 — an event that could blanket most of the United States in ash and possibly plunge the Earth into a volcanic winter.
The theory of a much shorter timeline than expected was developed by Hannah Shamloo, a graduate student at Arizona State, and several colleagues.