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 (265)
  • christianr-luk
    11/12/2015 - 01:17 p.m.

    We have no way of knowing how much lava would come out.

  • cindia-luk
    11/12/2015 - 01:20 p.m.

    It would be difficult because it is underground and nobody knows.But if it did do a super eruption,it would be pretty bad.Aah!So scary!

    • karmaj-luk
      11/12/2015 - 01:44 p.m.

      Nice comment!

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

      It would be scary.

    • duncanc-jac
      11/16/2015 - 05:21 p.m.

      I agree that it is very scary because you never no when the volcano is going to erupt. If the volcano did erupt I bet it would kill lots. That's not a good thing that the ash pollutes.

  • rachelw-luk
    11/12/2015 - 01:21 p.m.

    It would be diffcult to know because, we don't know how much lava will come out.

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

    Is it the biggest volcano?

    • davidk-luk
      11/12/2015 - 01:46 p.m.

      It may be the biggest volcano, and it may be not. I don't really know.

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

      It might be I don't know?????

  • ayanaa-luk
    11/12/2015 - 01:24 p.m.

    It would be difficult to know because it hasn't erupted for so long that scientists are still trying to study to predict what would happen.

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