Super Volcanoes

Super Volcanoes: Satellites Eye Deadly Hot Spots: “The eruption of pent-up energy will cover half the United States in ash, in some places up to 3 feet (1 meter) deep. Earth will be plunged into a perpetual winter that would last years. Some plant and animal species will disappear forever.
Even humans could be pushed to the edge of extinction.

Anthropologists suggest it won’t be the first time.”
Scary stuff, but the article does talk about how our accuracy of predicting volcano eruptions has increased tremendously. The trick after that would be to figure out if there’s a way to defuse the pressure before one of these Super Volcanoes erupts!

50 thoughts on “Super Volcanoes”

  1. I don’t think I’ve ever read a specific count of Super Volcanoes. Yellowstone is an obvious one that is frequently talked about. I believe there is also one in the Himalayas.

    Super volcanoes are not as common as standard run-of-the-mill volcanoes, but if only one of them chooses to erupt that would be bad news.

  2. If Yellowstone were to erupt, how long would it take for it to reach Arizona? And what would the height and speed reach at that time? And last, what other effects can we here in the United States be weary of, for example, flooding on the coasts from the force?

  3. Do the math. Super Sonic Shock wave vs. distance from epicenter(2000 miles / 600 mph) 600 mph IS VERY LOW . Don’t plan a Picknik afterwards.
    First the Shock wave then the Air Pressure wave then the Earthquake wave as .02% of the mass of the US is
    converted to dust, ash at least 3 feet deep, soot, acid rain, heat, fog, extreme weather, dams bursting, electrical grids failing, water pollution, Bridges destroyed, interstate commerence fails, Railroads broke. Terrible heat wave followed by a 25 years winter. We’ll ingore the medical problems as by then most of the breathing population will be dead. Now my point of view is God will return before this happens.

  4. could the geysers in yellowstone actually be a venting system for the buildup and this eruption not be as bad as predicted

  5. I saw a TV show about Yellowstone Super-Volcano earlier this year and cannot find a copy of it anywhere. It was very illuminating and scary too. Can anyone help.


  6. I think a supervolcanoe exits under my seat it keeps going up and down or maybe it is just me pushing the button? Oh well smell you later

  7. mike – seen a tv show by the bbc on yellowstone called “horizon” cant remember the date though…

    this program coined the super volcano phrase

  8. first lets look at the sure signs some thing is happening in yellowstone. one a bulge in yellowstone lake water temperature is up.then an area in the park is dying and spreading outward in this area an inch below the surface is 2oo degrees. and the animals are leaving the area fast. they are more in tune with nature then we are becuase we chose not to be. and so it will blow it’s cork just when about 10,000 years or this year or 1,000 or 100. who no’s but one thing is sure it will and when it does no person in a 600 mile area will be dead wyoming will be gone buried in 6 to 13 feet of ash every person in the world will be effected. people will die in mass numbers form starving to being killed from people going nuts. yes world devastation.thats nature it will renew the world and lessen it stress of to many people. poor/rich/bad and good people will die. see nature don’t know the just wipes you out. so live your life and try to be as nice to other people like you want them to be to you.

  9. Where would the safest place in the world be, if Yellowstone erupts? There obviously is safe spots since it will only push the human population to the verge of extinction. When Toba erupted 74,000 years ago, reportedly, a few thousand people survived.

  10. I feel that the prospect of a super volcano erupting to be terrifying (any normal minded person should). With that said, we must accept that as human beings there is only so much we can do to prevent catastrophe, especially those relating to mother nature. What we can do is acknowledge the fact that this is the nature cycle that the earth has been going through for millions of years and life as resilient as it is will almost definitely prevail.

  11. You could try sticking your thumb in there and see if you can hold it back, as in the old dam-breaking stories šŸ™‚

    Seriously, though, people don’t have anywhere near that kind of control over such giant geological forces yet. A volcano like this is as great or greater a force than the recent tsunami-causing earthquake, which was huge. Consider that that earthquake caused 1200 miles of rock to shift by 30-45 feet, and try to imagine people building a machine to stop that.

    Nothing’s impossible, but some things are very, very improbable, especially given current technologies.

  12. I’m sure that the blast would reach the UK. I would imagine that there would be quite a dust cloud, though. That might be large enough to reach the UK.

    Those sound like better questions for a geologist, though.

  13. No, not hardly is it a venting system. Any attempt at releasing pressure from Yellowstone COULD cause the eruption as the magma chamber is filled with a thick kind of magma that traps the gasses responsible for volcanic eruptions.

  14. By the way there are three super volcano’s known to scintists; Yellow Stone, Toba, and Long Vally. Long Vally hasn’t erupted in a very, very long time so who knows that one might be extint. Toba last erupted 74,000 years ago and is expected to blow again soon. Volcanologist’s have serveyed Yellow Stone and found out that it has erupted regularly every 600,000 years… since its lasted erupted its been 640,000 years.. Unfortunatly we are overdue for another one.

  15. Also when it erupts it will blanket the world in ash causing the tempriture to drop resulting in basicly another Ice Age, in other words were all doomed!

  16. No, geysers are not a “venting system”… well, not for the cause of the eruptions anyway. They are caused when water is heated by the magma below. The water expands, forcing its way out of cracks in the rock, exploding to the surface like a water-volcano. It’s very cool looking, but has no substantial effect on the magma (there’s some cooling, but not enough to matter).

    As for the doom analysis above, I’m not sure I buy your theory that there would be a mass extinction. These events occur regularly around the world (the last one was just 74,000 years ago). If they caused mass extinction, man would not be around today.

    As for a list: there is no list of “super volcanos” in the sense that you wanted. A super volcano isn’t a geolocical feature, it’s an event. Any eruption that measures an 8 on the Volcanic Explosivity Index (VEI) is a super volcano, and there are a handful of volcanos around the world that have had such eruptions in the past. However, to say that those sites will again have such an eruption or that they are the only places that such an eruption will occur in the futre would not be a provable (or even terribly likely) statement. Some of those sites will probably never erupt again, and some new sites will erupt for the first time.

    See: for a good list of eruptions that have been recorded during human history.

  17. Thanks for adding useful information to the discussion here! There’s been a lot of blather over the years posted in this comment section.

    (By the way, I just noticed that a few comments up I said “I’m sure that the blast would reach the UK”… I’m quite certain that I meant that the blast would *not* reach the UK.)

  18. I wouldn’t be getting worried about this one as there are a number of hoaxs on the net which are using events at Yellowstone to cause undue panic. The rising part in the lake has happened in the past and is not due to “magma shifting position”. The tempature rises causing parts of the park to close are due to geothermal activity once again not magma. The closed parts of the park have re-opened.

    There’s a couple of other avenues being explored with the yellowstone caldera

    1. There is a lot of geo evidence that the volcano is infact in the process of cooling down and may never erupt. Quite a bit of resource is going into this.

    2. Is the magma liquard enough to actually explode as the various doom sayers are making out.

    For the person wanting to know about other super volcanos.

    – Tobu Lake in Indonesia, the world’s largest super volcano.

    – Taupo NZ, as opposed to some idiots statements this volcano does not explode every 2,000 years and no there is no Mt Taupo.

  19. who i am

    There’s about 40 known Super Volcanos, with 5 currently active … sorry do not have the names of the five active ones but 2 are in the US, 1 in Indonesia, 1 in New Zealand, and 1 in Japan.

    For the person above trying to find the doco, not sure of your region but is available via downunder. The DVD has a single disc with the two part doco, and the dramatised worse case scenerio.

    You might be able to source via the BBC website, or check your local online DVD seller, l think do region 1.


  20. I am doing a report on pompeii and looked all over the web but can not find out how long the volcanic ash was in the air before Mt vesuvius erupted can anyone help??

  21. United States = Long Valley, California
    Yellowstone, Wyoming
    Fisher, Alaska
    New Zealand = Lake Taupo
    Indonesia = Toba
    Japan = Aniakchak

  22. According to my research, there are 7 active supervolcanos in the world right now, they are all dormat, But what do i know? I’m no geologist.

  23. I’ve heard that Lake Toba in Indonesia is the worlds largest supervolcano. How many people do you think it will kill if it erupts. Many people say it is worse than Yellowstone.

  24. it will not effect uk, yellow stone park I study it is a massive eruption,yes but you really should be worried about the aftermath when yellowstone goes offf so will Russia’s 30 volcanoes and new zealand’s volcanoe and italy’s but the world in a gobal freeze killing alot of people

  25. If Yellowstone erupts. We can kiss our a** goodbye. I hope I am taken out in the first wave of diaster. I would not want to stick around for the aftermath. People are crazy, and the population with go nuts trying to figure out how to survive.

  26. WHEN YELLOWSTONE ERUPTS WE WILL ALL DIE. The ash will block out the sun and could cause a ice. Guess what happened at the last ice age? EVERYTHING DIED.

  27. There are 8 supervolcanos. Should they erupt, life as we know it will cease to exist. Note: The Mayan calendar ends at 2012. Does that mark the end of life? Will all 8 supervolcanos erupt simultaneously obliterating life?

  28. All 8 super volcanoes erupting at the same time would be an amazing coincidence. That would be like winning the lottery (maybe even winning a couple of lotteries!)

    As far as 2012 and the Mayan calendar, here’s what Wikipedia notes:

    The Mesoamerican Long Count calendar, notably used by the pre-Columbian Maya civilization among others, completes a “great cycle” of thirteen b’ak’tuns (periods of 144,000 days each) since the mythical creation date of the calendar’s current era.

    So, it’s a *cycle*, not the end of the world. Each cycle just happens to take more than 5100 years, so it’s quite an event to reach the point at which the date returns to

  29. All super volcanoes erupting at the same time isnt coincidence. The Seismic Tremmors and other effects of one erupting may cause the rest to erupt. The Earth’s outer mantle might affect all their Caldera’s also. There are many reasons for them to erupt at the same time and cause a chain reaction (search Ring of Fire for more on Volcanic Chain Reactions).

    Also if they all erupt 2012 thats gonna suck tonnes cos thats just before i get to go on Leavers šŸ™

  30. @alex
    If Yellow stone erups we wont all die. There will be sections on the other side of the world that would be saved. New Zealand for instance, has prevailing winds away from it and ash and cloud would not affect it. Unfortuanately they have their own Super Volcano attatched to the Ring Of Fire (of which Yellowstone also is) so they are screwed Anyway. Im pretty sure Australia is fine though, at least from YellowStone.

  31. @Nik According to Wikipedia, it doesn’t appear that Yellowstone is part of the Ring of Fire. It’s too far from the coast.

    While a major volcanic event *can* happen in our lifetimes, let’s all take some comfort in the fact that geologic time is very, very long and the odds are quite slim that something will happen to us as a result. A more realistic way to protect our lives is to do a better job of driving safely šŸ˜‰

  32. @Kevin Dangoor
    Very true both about the ring of fire and geologic time.

    However, we are quiet overdue for a SuperVolcano Eruption >:) so geologic time or not, it should happen soon.

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