What will happen if the volcano under Yellowstone erupts?
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?
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You asked us, "What will happen if the volcano under Yellowstone erupts?"
 
Bubbling just a few miles below the surface of Yellowstone National Park is one of the world's largest active volcanic systems.
 
Over the last 2 million years or so, it has erupted 3 times in catastrophic explosions, spewing lava and hurtling ash and gases thousands of miles away.
 
So, what's the likelihood of that kind of super eruption happening again anytime soon?
 
Um, 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 and sure, the lava would still destroy everything in its path, but it'd be relatively slow moving. And 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, though. That ash cloud could travel huge distances, killing crops along the way, disrupting transportation systems, contaminating water supplies...you name it.
 
And if ash and sulfuric gases make it into the atmosphere, a global volcanic winter could be triggered, causing cooler temperatures and all kinds of horrible snowball effects.
 
But don't worry, because like I said, it's much more likely we'll be outrunning lava.

Source URL: https://www.tweentribune.com/article/tween78/what-will-happen-if-volcano-under-yellowstone-erupts/

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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 (206)
  • raymunda-4-bar
    11/13/2015 - 01:00 a.m.

    It is difficult to know for sure what would happen if there was a super eruption because it has never happened when humans were around. Nobody has ever seen it happen, ever. On paragraph 3, Ask Smithsonian states that,"Over the last 2 million years or so, it has erupted 3 times in catastrophic explosions, spewing lava and hurtling ash and gases thousands of miles away." This shows that the eruptions takes a very long time and the 3 times, hasn't really erupted on the era of humans.
    It seems interesting because the volcano would do a lot of damage even though, it is just 1. It can cause a volcanic winter and a big ash cloud can form. What shocked me the most, is that it has only erupted 3 times over the last 2 million years, and still not extinct.

  • jacks-6-bar
    11/13/2015 - 01:08 a.m.

    It is difficult to know for sure what would happen if there was a super eruption because the affects are quite unpredictable. The article only vaguely describes only the likely possibilities of what could and usually does happen in a super eruption; everything nearby is done for, and farther destinations, or even the whole globe, could be affected by the mass amounts of ash it would produce. They only suggest this outcome probably because this was what has happened from past observations/events. It is so difficult how to predict what will actually happen because of the forever moving tectonic forces and plates, and how wide they can open up for lava to explode through, therefore making an eruption. We don't know how the tectonic forces will behave in the future, whether letting significant amounts of magma out of the mantle or not. All we know for sure is that a super eruption at Yellowstone will be indeed very destructive, looking back to past events of these tragedies.

  • jacks-6-bar
    11/13/2015 - 01:10 a.m.

    I thought this article was considerably interesting, knowing what the true outcomes and destructiveness rates are from super eruptions, and what they might do to Yellowstone National Park.

  • maggiec-3-bar
    11/13/2015 - 01:16 a.m.

    It is difficult to know for sure what would happen if there was a super eruption because they can't predict what is going to happen. Since a super eruption has never happened before, like it says in paragraph eight, scientists aren't very sure what could happen and how bad of damage there would be. Yes, scientists have ideas and predictions but they won't be able to know exactly what would happen until one happens. This is very dangerous but people shouldn't be to worried. In the article it says over the last 2 million years the volcano has erupted only 3 times. So the chances of another eruption happening soon are very slim. I think that this is scary and relieving. It's scary to think that an eruption could happen at any time and could cause major problems to the planet but since one hasn't happened in a very long time I should have nothing to worry about.

  • jasminec-6-bar
    11/13/2015 - 03:02 a.m.

    It is difficult to know for sure what would happen because over the last two million years the volcano has only erupted three times, but the article does say that we do atlas know that it will most likely be a smaller event then the last three. We also know that the volcano will be spewing lava, but it will be easily out ran, we also know that it will release tons of ashes and noxious gases as far as thousands of miles away. Other than that we would not positively know anything for sure.

    I enjoyed reading this article because I found out a little bit about what would happen if the volcano under Yellow Stone National Park were to erupt. Although, this article does make me a bit nervous considering the fact that the gases and ashes would definitely overwhelm the South Bay.

  • oscarb-1-bar
    11/13/2015 - 09:43 a.m.

    It would be difficult to know for sure what would happen if there was a super eruption because, "There has only been 3 for the two million year of its existence". Human have not been alive for that long and if an eruption did happen the people who would see it would have died because the eruption last a very long time. I thought it was very interesting how that park could explode, never thought it could.

  • kieranw-3-bar
    11/13/2015 - 10:00 a.m.

    It s difficult to say if there was a super eruption because there hasn't been one in recent history allowing us to use that as an example for future eruptions at Yosemite. The main topic of this article is the chances of a terrible eruption burning everything around Yosemite. This event it predicted to only have the chance of about one and seven hundred thirty-thousand which is pretty low. But scientists do think that a smaller explosion with a lava spill is a lot more likely.

  • jackw-4-bar
    11/13/2015 - 10:32 a.m.

    It is difficult to know for sure what would happen if there was a super eruption because the last one happened 2 million years ago. To find out what happened 2 million years ago is impossible. This article interested me because I knew about the super volcano but I didn't know if it was likely to explode.

  • elijahb-6-bar
    11/13/2015 - 11:15 a.m.

    It is difficult to know for sure what would happen if there was a super eruption because like it says in the article,"estimates from the U.S geological survey put it at about 1in 730,000 chances of it happening". To be honest I didn't even know there was a volcano in Yellowstone but I think it is really cool that scientists were able to figure out how many chances there will be of a super eruption in the volcano.

  • kennedik-ree
    11/13/2015 - 11:42 a.m.

    Under Yellow Stone National park there is one of the largest active volcanic systems. According to the passage, it is difficult to know for sure what would happen if there was a super eruption.

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