Is Yellowstone Going to Erupt?
Yellowstone may be beautiful, but some fear it's due for a super eruption. Imagine the opportunity to take a camping trip to explore firsthand a stunning, world renowned national park. The amazing wildlife, searing sunrise and abundance of inspiring geological formations might distract you from the fact you're camping atop a gigantic volcano with devastating potential. That's right, there is a hidden caldera—or huge underground volcano—stewing underneath Yellowstone National Park in addition to the park's more than 300 geysers. The caldera formed hundreds of thousands of years ago filling in a collapse of land in the park where a previous volcano erupted. Due for an eruption of its own, calderas are expected to overflow every 600,000-800,000 years. According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), the U.S. shouldn't be hearing a loud kaboom in about 10,000 more years or so. Although park officials say an explosion is not necessarily imminent, they say they're confident in predicting such a catastrophe anywhere from weeks to years in advance.
Exactly what would happen if Yellowstone's supervolcano decided to surprise us with a sudden eruption? Immediate states like Wyoming and Montana would see high death counts, with many houses collapsing under the weight of falling ash. The rest of the U.S. would also be covered in a thick layer of ash that would pollute water, smother vegetation, impact food sources and agriculture, damages that could take more than a decade to repair. As a result of the eruption, it's likely another caldera would evolve, and, in many thousands of years, the cycle may repeat. What's more, the eruption's affects on climate change would probably make global warming today look like just a rainy day. That's still a long way ahead—plenty of time to check out this playlist and prepare your strategy.
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American Museum of Natural History
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