What will happen if the volcano under Yellowstone erupts? Geothermal activity at Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, USA. (Thinkstock)
What will happen if the volcano under Yellowstone erupts?
Lexile

You asked us a question. "What will happen if the volcano under Yellowstone erupts?"
 
It bubbles just a few miles below the surface of Yellowstone National Park. It is one of the world's largest active volcanic systems.
 
It has erupted 3 times in tragic explosions over the last 2 million years or so. They have spewed lava. They have also thrown ash and gases thousands of miles away.
 
So, what is the chance of that kind of super eruption happening again anytime soon?
 
Not high. Estimates from the U.S. Geological Survey put it at about 1 in 730,000.
 
Smaller and less explosive events are more likely.
 
Sure, the lava would still destroy everything in its path. But it would be fairly slow moving.  Nothing you could not outrun.
 
Oh, no - lava!
 
But what if Yellowstone super erupted?
 
The full impact is hard to guess. But it is pretty safe to say anything or anyone nearby would be done for. In a fiery, doomsday kind of way.
 
Do not count yourself lucky if you are farther out. That ash cloud could travel huge distances. It could kill crops along the way. It could upset transportation systems. It could taint water supplies. You name it.
 
If ash and sulfuric gases make it into the atmosphere a global volcanic winter could be started. That would cause cooler temperatures. It would cause all kinds of horrible snowball effects.
 
But do not worry. Like I said, it is much more likely we will be outrunning lava.

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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
Why is it difficult to know for sure what would happen if there was a super eruption?
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (86)
  • keiras-luk
    11/12/2015 - 01:14 p.m.

    It would be difficult to know because...it has not erupted in 2 millon years. By KEIRA

  • camareonf-luk
    11/12/2015 - 01:22 p.m.

    It will explode and it will difficult to understand and you may get confused.

    • maxb-luk
      11/12/2015 - 01:50 p.m.

      You are right you might get confused.

  • davidk-luk
    11/12/2015 - 01:25 p.m.

    It would be hard because it eropted over the last 2 million years. That's a lot of years.






    By David K. Kent:D

    • juliannaj1-osb
      11/17/2015 - 02:59 p.m.

      that makes a lot of sense

  • liliea-luk
    11/12/2015 - 01:25 p.m.

    It would be difficult to know because it would blow up now maybe.

    By Lilie

  • kirstenp-luk
    11/12/2015 - 01:27 p.m.

    It would be hard to know what day it will erupt on, and what time but on the other hand you can tell because everyone would be running for their lives,screaming and the ground would be shaking.

    • wyatta-luk
      11/12/2015 - 01:53 p.m.

      I like your comment

  • simonc-luk
    11/12/2015 - 01:30 p.m.

    I didn't know that there could be a super eruption. Anyways, let's not get close to a volcano!

    • maxb-luk
      11/12/2015 - 01:50 p.m.

      Yeah we should get close to a volcano that would be awesome.

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