Much ado has been made in recent years about the active supervolcano that resides underneath Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming but should we be prepping for it?
Is the killing dormant giant really sleeping? Is a cataclysmic supereruption possible or even probable in the near future? For that matter, is a volcanic eruption all that we should be concerned about?
If leaving aside Yellowstone, how many of us are prepared to survive a volcanic eruption?
The Yellowstone Supervolcano is located beneath the Yellowstone Caldera in the northwest corner of Wyoming. A caldera is simply a depression left in the earth from the eruption of a volcano. Think of it as a sinkhole; when the magma erupts from the earth, the land is going to sink because there’s nothing left underneath to hold it up.
The size of the caldera is huge – it measures about 45 miles by 34 miles. The size of the actual magma cove that currently lies a few miles underneath the Yellowstone Plateau is about 2.5 times as big as scientists had previously thought. It’s about 50 miles long and about 12 miles wide and has a mass of about 960 cubic miles. In other words, it’s long, wide and deep.
The location of the cove isn’t stationary but that’s not because the cove itself moves; the North American Plate lies about it and moves west southwest over the hotspot. This movement is so slow that it’s irrelevant to our concerns except as a means to track its historical activity.
Only about 6-8% of the magma cove is molten rock but that’s still a lot of lava! Scientists say that this proportion of lava is much too low to cause another supereruption soon, but that’s not all that we should be concerned about.
Is the Giant Really Sleeping?