Caldera in the interior of Yellowstone National Park has been dubbed a superpolcano which has the potential to continue uninterrupted global devastation in the event of an accident. It was formed during the last three major events over the past 2.1 million years, with the most recent lava creek eruption occurring about 630,000 years ago. Located below the states of Wyoming, Montana and Idaho, the region is regularly monitored by the USGS (United States Geological Survey) for signs that history may repeat itself.
Science writer Brian Walsh explored the possibilities with the cool detail in part of the promotion of his recently published book, The End Times: A Brief Guide to the World of the World.
He wrote: “A Yellowstone explosion will never happen to humanity.
“At first there will be increasingly strong earthquakes, indicating that magma was rushing towards the surface beneath the Yellowstone.
“Then the magma would erupt into the earth’s toxic interior and explode into the earth in a Titanic explosion.
“It will continue for a few days, burying Yellowstone in lava within a radius of 40 miles.”
Mr Walsh said “the catastrophe surrounding Yellowstone would be just the beginning”, adding that the accident would “bury the larger swaths of Colorado, Wyoming and Utah in three feet of toxic volcanic ash”.
He added: “Depending on the weather pattern, most parts of the Midwest will take a few inches, plunging the region into darkness.
“Even the coast – where most Americans live – will probably become dusty as the ash clouds spread.
“Crops will be destroyed, pastures will be polluted.
Read more: Scientists predict Yellowstone volcano crash next to ‘clock’
“Power lines and electrical transformers will be damaged, possibly knocking out most of the grid.”
According to Mr Walsh, “the effects of a global fire could be felt if it happened in the summer” because toxic clouds could block sunlight for years and “submerge global temperatures”.
He added: “Rainfall will decrease very quickly. That may be enough to trigger a tropical rain forest die-off.
“Farmers may fall, starting with the Midwest.
Quoting a team of researchers from a 2015 European Science Foundation report, Mr Walsh agreed that an atrocity in Yellowstone would be “the greatest catastrophe since the beginning of civilization.”
But the USGS says there is no need to fear.
Experts from government agencies estimate the possibility of an explosion in one in 3030,000 years.
And a recent survey also suggested that the hotspot could currently decline.
The discovery was based on an analysis of volcanic water scattered over several thousand kilometers in the region.
‘End Times: A Brief Guide to the World of the World’ has been published by Hatchet Books and is available for purchase.