The effects of the Yellowstone volcano could be extremely harmful to humans researchers at the United States Geological Survey (USGS) reported. A team of scientists has calculated the effects the supervolcano has on humans, based on some reports dated back in the eighties. The Yellowstone caldera is located underneath the American park, and it is called a supervolcano because of its ability to cause devastation on a global level.
Even Small Eruptions Affect the Planet
Expanding across Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho, the supervolcano is steadily monitored by the USGS in case a super-eruption is threatening the Earth. The team of scientists monitoring the volcano has calculated the probable effects as a result of a massive eruption at Yellowstone, as part of their ‘Volcano Hazards Programme.’
Researchers utilized historical information to figure out what a probable event could resemble, The result cited that researchers analyzed three past explosive eruptions of various sizes in Indonesia, Tambora (1815), Krakatau (1883), and Agung (1963). They observed the fact that the decreases in surface temperatures after the explosions were of analogous magnitude – 0.18 to 1.3C.
Even so, the quantity of material inserted into the stratosphere varied by a considerable amount. “By comparing the estimated amount of ash vs. sulfur injected into the stratosphere by each eruption, it was suggested that the longer residence time of sulfate aerosols, not the ash particles which fall out within a few months of an eruption, was the paramount controlling factor,” the paper says.
The research then continues to predict the way these impacts can also take place in the Yellowstone caldera. It says that if another devastating caldera-forming Yellowstone eruption were to happen, it would modify the global weather patterns and have catastrophic impacts on human activity, such as agricultural production, for more than one decade. As a matter of fact, the reasonably small 1991 eruption of Mt. Pinatubo in the Philippines was demonstrated to have altered global temperatures.
No Certainty Whatsoever
The Yellowstone volcano has exploded three times – at least according to the researchers – in history: 2.1 million years ago, 1.3 million years ago, and 640,000 years ago. Some are now claiming that the eruption of the supervolcano is overdue. Self-named experts ended up with this conclusion after measuring the difference in time between each explosion, but USGS scientist Jake Lowenstern has completely disagreed with these claims.
He explained in a video posted on the USGS YouTube channel that if you average the eruption gaps, the result will give you an interval of more than 700,000 years. Therefore, this argument doesn’t stand as it wouldn’t be overdue for another 70,000 years.
Lowenstern also said that even the calculation they manged is questionable as well. “The other thing that is important to realize is that when they do statistics based on two eruptive intervals, they are just playing games. Because we don’t know. There’s no clock down there; the magma is going to erupt when it wants to erupt,” he explained. “There’s been a lot of things that have happened over the last 600,000 years that might indicate there’s less likely of an eruption,” the researcher added.