What If The Yellowstone Supervolcano Erupted Today?

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Just a few miles beneath the ground at Yellowstone National Park, a gigantic reservoir of magma is steadily pushing upwards. This activity produces earthquakes, geysers, and explosions of steam, though it's been about 640,000 years since the supervolcano's last caldera-forming eruption. Its biggest eruption occurred 2.1 million years ago, blanketing large areas of North America in ash. Fortunately, geophysicists say that the odds of an eruption occurring in any given year are about 1 in 700,000.

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Key Facts In This Video

  1. Scientists would be able to warn people if a supervolcano eruption at Yellowstone was imminent. 00:51

  2. Within 10 minutes of the Yellowstone supervolcano erupting, the states of Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming would be covered in lava. 02:17

  3. The eruption of Yellowstone's supervolcano would probably cause America to drop out of global markets, ushering in a depression. 03:17

Written by Curiosity Staff December 1, 2015