Yellowstone supervolcano 'could explode with devastating hydrothermal eruption'
THE YELLOWSTONE supervolcano could be set for a devastating hydrothermal eruption, a leading scientist has warned.
Yellowstone is a hotspot for hydrothermic activity and such an eruption could leave a mile-wide crater and would be “extremely harmful to any life”.
US Geological Survey’s Cascades Volcano Observatory geophysicist Dr Michael Poland insists this type of explosion poses more of a risk than any other eruption.
A hydrothermal eruption happens when an underground reservoir of water is heated by the volcano and violently explodes like a giant geyser.
Large rocks, boiling water and ash are thrown into the air and a similar event left a 1.5mile crater in Yellowstone 13,000 years ago.
Hydrothermal explosions happen regularly at the park leaving craters of a few metres across, but a much bigger event could happen, Dr Poland warned.
He told the Daily Star Online: “Most hydrothermal explosions are very small. Those are not uncommon.
“These would affect anyone standing within a few metres because it throws rocks up into the air and scalding water.
“But here are some bigger [craters] that are a few hundred metres in diameter so this attests to a very large volume of water.”
A much bigger area would be hit and more life would be destroyed than with any other type of volcanic eruption.
Dr Poland said: “The direct area of the crater would be devastated and some of the deposits from the explosion would be found a few kilometres from the source crater.”
“As you move farther away, the impact will lessen. So if you’re within a few kilometres, you would definitely be subject to these impacts, ballistic, basically large rocks that are flying through the air, and little surges of ash that would be extraordinarily harmful to any life.”
Yellowstone is thought to be long overdue for a cataclysmic super-eruption.
Earthquake swarm of almost 2,500 tremors at Yellowstone supervolcano since June is one of the longest on record
University of Utah's Seismograph Stations have monitored 2,475 tremors
Records show that 115 earthquakes were reported during September
The largest quake during that period was a magnitude 2.3 on September 3
The largest swarm ever, in 1985, saw more than 3,000 events over three months
An earthquake swarm at Yellowstone is now one of the biggest ever, with 2,475 tremors recorded since it began in in June.
Records show that 115 earthquakes were reported in the western part of the national park during September.
The largest swarm ever to occur at Yellowstone took place in 1985, with more than 3,000 events over a three month period.
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