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, "What will happen if the volcano under Yellowstone erupts?"
 
It's bubbling just a few miles below the surface of Yellowstone National Park. It's is one of the world's largest active volcanic systems.
 
Over the last 2 million years or so, it has erupted 3 times in disastrous explosions. It spewed lava and hurtled ash and gases thousands of miles away.
 
So, what's the likelihood 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.
 
What's much more likely is a smaller, less explosive event.
 
Sure, the lava would still destroy everything in its path. But it'd be relatively slow moving, nothing you couldn't outrun.
 
Oh, no - lava!
 
But what if Yellowstone super erupted?
 
Well, the full impact is hard to predict. But it's pretty safe to say anything or anyone nearby would be done for. In a fiery, doomsday kind of way.
 
Don't count yourself lucky if you're farther out. That ash cloud could travel huge distances. It could kill crops along the way, disrupt transportation systems, and pollute water supplies. You name it.
 
If ash and sulfuric gases make it into the atmosphere a global volcanic winter could be sparked. It would cause cooler temperatures and all kinds of horrible snowball effects.
 
But don't worry. Like I said, it's much more likely we'll 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 (264)
  • milesw-luk
    11/12/2015 - 12:53 p.m.

    It would be difficult to know because the last time it erupted was 2 million years ago.

    • camareonf-luk
      11/12/2015 - 01:52 p.m.

      Miles great comment.

    • sutts1-gau
      11/23/2015 - 01:31 p.m.

      yes but it could happen any day now because it happen 2 million years ago and it could happen today

  • samanthas-1-ste
    11/12/2015 - 01:03 p.m.

    The eruption is most likely hard to predict because it is very far underground and can take different courses. But, if anyone can outrun it, it is okay.

    • trinitih-ter
      11/19/2015 - 11:05 a.m.

      that is a good inference

  • matthewa-luk
    11/12/2015 - 01:05 p.m.

    It would be diffcuit to know because the lava is going to spead far and it would be hard to out run it.

    • brandony-ver
      11/16/2015 - 01:03 p.m.

      Like the article said, lava is very slow...my turtle can easily outrun it.

    • brandony-ver
      11/16/2015 - 01:05 p.m.

      By the looks of it, anything around Yellowstone would be demolished from a super eruption, and I'm not sure how far the smoke cloud can travel but it sounds devastating for whatever it passes by.

  • karmaj-luk
    11/12/2015 - 01:06 p.m.

    It would be diffcult,because who knows when it will erupt? I mean after all,it has erupted three times. So watch out! I'm scared!



    By: karma

  • rileyp-luk
    11/12/2015 - 01:13 p.m.

    Could a super volcano reach Indiana?

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