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Supervolcano Underneath Yellowstone National Park Can Wipe Out Half of the US If It Erupts

Apr 06, 2016 04:57 AM EDT
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Beneath its beauty, there is a supervolcano underneath the Yellowstone National Park and experts said it can wipe out half of the U.S. if it erupts.

Studies differ as to when the eruption will take place, but one thing is for sure: it can cause millions of deaths and massive destruction.

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) revealed that there is a humongous magma reservoir underneath the Yellowstone National Park in Idaho. The result of this magma reservoir is not just a typical volcano, but a supervolcano, which is eleven times stronger.

The presence of this supervolcano poses as a threat to the U.S. One eruption can wipe half of the country, a TechInsider report said.

In a study by BBC, they defined a supervolcano as a volcano in a massive scale. Its eruption is caused by magma pressure, making its eruptions more dangerous and deadly compared to a normal volcano.

What makes its eruption more threatening is its large magma reservoir. According to BBC's same study, a normal volcano can emit around one kilometer of material, while a supervolcano can spew at least one thousand kilometer of material, thus causing a wider range of devastation when it erupts.

According to the USGS, if the supervolcano underneath the Yellowstone erupts, it can largely affect food and water supply in the country. It will also cause massive respiratory problems due to the huge amount of ashes from its possible eruption, which is ten times bigger than a usual volcanic eruption.

It will also cause ten years of uninhabitable devastation, especially to areas surrounding the park, affecting not only wildlife but also people who rely on the area for livelihood and tourism.

Although the supervolcano is a massive threat to Idaho and the U.S., experts said we shouldn't worry about it--at least for now.

Supervolcanoes erupt hundreds of years apart. The last time the Yellowstone supervolcano erupted was around 650,000 years ago and the next one will not likely to happen in the next ten thousand years.

However, as per this report, the European Science Foundation said there is a ten percent chance that the supervolcano will erupt even sooner, possibly in the next 80 years.

Experts from the foundation said the Yellowstone supervolcano poses more threat to mankind, compared to asteroids, earthquakes, nuclear war and global warming. They said it can even lead to millions of deaths.

The Yellowstone National Park in Idaho is home to wildlife, such as wolves, buffalo and bears, surviving in its vast wilderness.

Tourists and locals alike frequently visit the area, that's why experts are closely monitoring the magma activity underneath the park.

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