Yellowstone National Park in the United States is not just beautiful nature and majestic geysers. It is home to one of the most dangerous volcanoes on Earth – Yellowstone Supervolcano. Recently, strange changes in water levels have been noticed in different parts of the lake surrounding the volcano. One side of the lake may be rising and the other may be falling. Could this be a sign of an impending disaster?
History of the volcano
Yellowstone Supervolcano has already manifested its power three times. There have also been many smaller eruptions. In this region, volcanic deposits created by weak eruptions are scattered over tens of thousands of kilometers. After more research, experts found that these deposits were left behind by two previously unknown super-eruptions that occurred about nine million and eight million seven hundred thousand years ago. So the Yellowstone volcano area had a super eruption every half-million years. But in the last three million years there have been only two. So catastrophic events are slowing down. Or just delayed!
If the Yellowstone supervolcano had exploded with the same power as it did two million years ago, it would have spewed out about two and a half thousand cubic kilometers of lava! Which is more than four and a half thousand times the volume of Sydney Harbor. That’s a lot of lava! Whether or not this could happen is unknown. But something is happening to the volcano. Changes in the water level of Yellowstone Lake mean that the caldera is rising below the surface. The caldera is what is left behind after the volcano erupted and then collapsed. The Yellowstone caldera does not just rise upward, creating an eminence. It moves up and down as if it were breathing. Perhaps it’s because magma is seeping into the crust. Or it heats Yellowstone’s hydrothermal system, causing it to expand and lift the crust.
Yellowstone Supervolcano has a volcanic explosiveness index of eight out of ten. This means that if the volcano begins to erupt, the apocalypse will begin. Right before the catastrophe, the ground around the national park will rise. Geothermal pools and geysers will heat up to boiling point, and their acidity will rise. Magma will begin to rise to the surface. At some point, the stone roof of the magma chamber can no longer resist, and there will be an explosion. A massive column of lava and ash will rise to a height of more than twenty-six kilometers. After that, the volcano will spew ash for days on end. The mixture of lava, ash, and gas will be hotter than a thousand degrees. It will move at four hundred and eighty-three kilometers per hour – faster than a race car. The air near the center of the eruption would heat up to three hundred degrees.
What awaits Yellowstone National Park?
The situation with Yellowstone Supervolcano is of great concern to scientists and disaster experts. However, there is still no accurate data on what is going on inside the volcano. Some scientists believe that changes in the lake’s water level may be caused by climate change. Others suggest that underground forces may be related to Yellowstone’s hydrothermal system.
But regardless of what happens to the volcano, Yellowstone National Park remains one of the most beautiful places on Earth. A place where nature gives us its beauty and power, reminding us of how small we are in this vast world.