Supervolcano could render 2/3 of USA uninhabitable
Posted on 3:55pm Thursday 31st May 2012
A supervolcano eruption is the most catastrophic natural disaster that can hit our planet, short of an asteroid impact - and now scientists believe they may build up a deadly head of steam far faster than we thought. The process could only take hundreds of years, when it was originally believe to be thousands.
This could have deadly implications for the US, where a supervolcano is said to be simmering beneath Yellowstone National Park, and if it erupts two thirds of the country could be rendered uninhabitable. Supervolcanoes are fuelled by giant pools of magma that form deep underground, and a magma reservoir below Yellowstone has been rising at a record rate since 2004.
The supervolcano has erupted a total of three times in the last 2.1 million years. Scientists believe it could be due to erupt again. A full scale eruption at Yellowstone would be 1,000 times more powerful than the volcanic blast that tore apart Mount St Helens in 1980.