Dec. 4, 2018 – The Yellowstone volcano, located in the US State of Wyoming, last erupted 640,000 years ago and experts have warned it could have devastating repercussions across the world. Dr Christopher Kilburn, a professor at University College London and expert in volcanic hazards, said despite there being a very small chance of another eruption any time soon, an explosion could have dramatic consequences.
It has had 23 smaller eruptions since then. Even those smaller eruption are larger than anything that the earth has experienced in the last century.
When asked what the world’s most dangerous explosive volcano would be, Dr Kilburn said it would depend on where the volcano is located and how populated the area is surrounding the danger zone.
Speaking to Express.co.uk, Dr Kilburn first cited Mount Vesuvius, which surrounds the highly populated Italian city of Naples.
Dr Kilburn said: “In terms of conventional size eruptions and explosions, you’d have to choose a volcano which has a high population in its immediate vicinity and that, I have to say, really brings Vesuvius right to the top of the list.
“It’s really because there are just so many people living right next to it.”
But he warned that on the “other extreme” could be a Yellowstone supervolcano eruption.
Dr Kilburn said: “Of course, if you had Yellowstone erupting again – another 1000 cubic kilometers of magma – that would cause global devastation.
“It’s just that one type of eruption you might think you can do something about it. The other type of eruption you just have to hope for the best.”
He added: “It’s the sort of thing, should there be a meteorite impact. These are things that may one day happen but there is no way of stopping it.”
Dr Kilburn said a Yellowstone explosion could cause a volcanic winter, which threatens to plunge temperatures and cut off food supplies.
The Yellowstone volcano was ranked a “high risk” threat on a list of America’s most volatile volcanoes.
The Yellowstone volcano system was ranked 21st on a list of 161 volcanoes spread across the USA.
The comprehensive list compiled by the USGS assessed the potential eruptive risk and hazard of each volcano.
Yellowstone’s history of past eruptions and ongoing activity means geologists consider the supervolcano a high threat to life.
Yellowstone National Park lies on a magma reservoir that creates geysers and hot basins and is able to destroy humanity.
The United Nations has estimated that an eruption could leave the country with enough food reserves for 74 days.
According to Michael Poland, the chief scientist of the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory (YVO), a Yellowstone blast will happen one day.
He said: “It’s an active volcano. It will erupt again.”
But there is no immediate evidence to suggest the supervolcano will erupt within the timeframe of our lifetimes.
Scientists have warned strong nearby earthquakes could result in “variations in geyser eruption patterns” and even “small steam explosions”.
The warning comes after Ear Spring geyser unleashed a shock eruption last September, marking its biggest such explosion in over sixty years.
The geyser spewed scalding water more than 30-feet into the air on September 15 last year.
Steamboart Geyser March 2018
US Geological Survey (USGS) Yellowstone Volcano Observatory scientists said: “Distant earthquakes have triggered clusters of small earthquakes at Yellowstone (like those caused by the 2002 Denali, Alaska, earthquake), and variations in geyser eruption patterns are a common consequence of local and distant strong earthquakes.
“Seismic shaking can cause hydrothermal plumbing systems to collapse, changing how Yellowstone thermal features behave and even resulting in small steam explosions.”