After analyzing minerals around the supervolcano at Yellowstone National Park, Arizona State University scientists have come to a startling conclusion that it could blow faster than previously thought, possibly wipe out life on the planet.
National Geographic researchers- Hannah Shamloo and Christy Till- analyzed minerals in fossilized ash from the most recent eruption.
What they found amazed them – the changes in temperature and composition just took a couple of decades, substantially faster than the hundreds of years previously thought.
Christy Till told New York Times that they expected that there might be processes happening over thousands of years preceding the eruption.
The discovery presented at a recent volcanology conference comes on top of a 2011 study that found that ground above the magma reservoir in Yellowstone had bulged by about 10 inches in seven years.
Yellowstone volcanism expert Bob Smith said, “it’s an extraordinary uplift because it covers such a large area and the rates are so high”.
According to National Geographic, the supervolcano last erupted about 630,000 years ago, Before that, it was 1.3 million years ago, meaning that the system might be ready for another explosion, according to a report from ZME Science.
If another eruption were to occur, the scientists found that the supervolcano would spare nothing in its wrath.
It would shoot 2,500 times more material than Mount St. Helen did in 1980 and could cover a large portion of the contiguous U.S. in slag, perhaps putting the planet into a volcanic winter.
Despite the concerns about an imminent eruption, Shamloo told The Times that more research needed to be done before a definite conclusion could be drawn.
At least 400 earthquakes hit the supervolcano in June alone. It is learned that NASA is working on a way to prevent the supervolcano from destroying mankind.
However, while the volcano could have devastating consequences if it somehow happened to erupt, no one needs worry just yet.
The quickened timetable demonstrates the temperatures around the spring of gushing lava expanded over a time of decades, rather than the hundreds of years researchers had already believed the process would take.
Highlights of the park, for example, the Old Faithful geyser and the Grand Prismatic Spring that draw visitors from around the globe, are indications of an immense magma reservoir thundering beneath.