Yellowstone's supervolcano may erupt sooner than expected

Yellowstone's supervolcano may erupt sooner than expected

New research from Arizona State University shows that the last time the volcano erupted was after two large influxes of magma filled the reservoir under the caldera-and that process may take less time than previously thought.

According to scientists, Yellowstone's supervolcano has erupted three times.

A supervolcano now lies dormant underneath the Yellowstone National Park, but once it prepares for its next eruption, we will not have much time to prepare for the disastrous event.

And in an unsettling twist, the minerals revealed that the critical changes in temperature and composition built up in a matter of decades.

Some 630,000 years ago, a massive eruption rocked the region, spewing the rock and ash that created the Yellowstone caldera, a 40-mile-wide bowl that forms most of the park. And a study in 2013 showed that the volume of magma moving into the supervolcano is almost three times larger than previously thought.

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Graduate student Hannah Shamloo says, 'It's shocking how little time is required to take a volcanic system from being quiet and sitting there to the edge of an eruption'.

The new findings come on the heels of a 2011 study that found that ground above the magma reservoir had bulged by about 10 inches (25cm) in seven years, National Geographic reported. This means that the Yellowstone supervolcano can go from its current level activity to its next eruption as soon as about 2030. The pair also presented an earlier version of their study at a 2016 meeting of the American Geophysical Union. The lead scientist at the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory tells National Geographic there's no sign of any "magmatic event" at this time.

But nearly everyone who studies Yellowstone's slumbering supervolcano says that right now, we have no way of knowing when the next big blast will happen. The US Geological Survey has put the estimated yearly odds of another huge Yellowstone blast at 1 in 730,000 - about the same chance as Earth colliding with an asteroid.

Yellowstone is one of the world's most monitored volcano sites, under constant surveillance from satellites and ground-based monitoring stations.

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