Scientists have known for some time that a volcano is lurking under Yellowstone National Park, but until recently, they didn't realize how big it really was. A recent study that measured the activity around the park shows that the volcano is 55 miles across, 30 miles wide and reaches depths of up to 9 miles. If a volcano this size were to erupt, it would cause mass destruction to the entire planet.
An explosion from this volcano would be at least 2,000 times more powerful than the eruption of Mount St. Helens and would release a cloud of gas and ash that would circle the earth, block out the sun and cause devastating climate changes to the planet.
The volcano last erupted about 640,000 years ago. The eruption caused a cloud of ash to cover the entire continent of North America. The bad news is that the volcano is only dormant and nobody can be sure when it will erupt again.
Some scientists believe that the volcano erupts every 700,000 years, but others believe there is not enough evidence to prove this theory. Before the volcano even comes close to erupting, it wil start to warm up and show signs that will serve as a warning to scientists and the world.
So are we facing the same fate as the dinosaurs? Could we wake up tomorrow morning and find ourselves in the midst of an ice age? Scientists say it's possible but not likely. According to the scientists who studied the volcano's activity, the Yellowstone volcano is not considered a major hazard.
Hopefully by the time the Yellowstone volcano does erupts, science will have figured out a way to prevent mass devastation. Until then the world will just have to enjoy Yellowstone Park knowing there is a super volcano lurking underneath it.
Image from Wikimedia Commons.