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They rank among the most catastrophic natural disasters on Earth, second only in destructive power to an asteroid impact that could ensure humanity meets the same fate as the dinosaurs.
Super eruptions make those from normal volcanoes look like sputters of dust. They blast enough material into the air to bury large cities beneath kilometres of ash, and the particles they send into the sky can cool the planet for years.
But the most alarming aspect of these rare and violent events, which have left deep scars on the planet's surface, is that the forces that drive them have never been understood.
The run-up to a super-eruption is different. Magma builds up so slowly that the rocky walls of the chamber heat up and expand, allowing the chamber to grow to a huge size. This relieves pressure inside the magma chamber. But as the chamber grows, more buoyant magma is forced upwards, and can eventually fracture the surface rock, causing a massive eruption.
In an accompanying article in the journal, Mark Jellinek, a volcanologist at the University of British Columbia, writes that the magma's buoyancy alone can trigger the eruptions.
The work will be crucial for helping scientists predict when super eruptions are nigh, Jellinek told the Guardian. "Understanding the underlying mechanisms for both super eruptions and Pinatubo-sized events is key for eruption forecasting. Individual super eruptions can potentially influence global climate for a sufficiently long period to change our place in the world," he said.
I wonder....If Yellowstone dropped deposits of ash in modern Kansas up to 20 ft deep for spots (they mine it in places, from what I've read)...what would that power do if unleashed 20,000 feet down in the mid Pacific or some other BIG body of water? Water doesn't compress..it simply moves..right? So would that be a 0 warning to the biggest Tsunami imaginable or ..?
reply to post by gatorboi117
If and when they actually believe they know one of these will erupt, at what point do we think we would get a warning.
Personally I doubt they would say anything, people would have to read the signs themselves such as increases quakes and leave on their own.
Considering that they warn people about hurricanes now and try to evacuate them, I'm guessing that there are even odds that they would try to do something to warn people about an impending eruption of one of these.
think we'd have to consider who 'they' is in this case. They would be park rangers, geologists and other natural sciences. Basically the people most likely to love nature first and their career, second. I'd never expect the number of people who would see it coming to remain silent.