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What would happen if Yellowstone Super-Volcano erupted?

What if Yellowstone super-volcano erupted?

When talking about the volcano in Yellowstone we often refer to it as a supervolcano, but most do not actually realise that Yellowstone could produce a hyper eruption. A hyper eruption is not something we hear often, but it is probable and the effects from a hyper volcano would be much more intense than a supervolcano.

Already activity in Yellowstone national park has been noticed to change, for example, the activity on old faithful could usually be timed to the exact occurrence of its own activity being very predictable. Yet, now the activity is very unpredictable, signs like this, and others are the first sign that something may be going on underneath Yellowstone. However, as we know, Yellowstone is not the only supervolcano, there are others, these hot spots are located all over the world and can be found beneath Hawaii South America the edges of Eastern Australia and beneath Iceland.

Yellowstone last erupted 640 million years ago, so why would it happens now?

To answer this, we need to talk about how the super volcanoes formed, what is going on underneath Yellowstone’s volcanoes?

A volcano usually exists of a thin crust that over time builds up and then releases and produces the volcano. However, Yellowstone is different, Yellowstone's crust is estimated to be around one hundred miles thick and underneath this one-hundred-mile-thick crust, gas migrates up and gets trapped around 50 miles deep. Now, this gas begins to build up creating a lot of pressure. It is this pressure that over time pushes against the one hundred miles thick crust which force the crust to explode. It is this explosion that could lead to a hyper eruption causing fifty miles of crust being projected into the air leading to immensely devastating circumstances.


1 Minute before the eruption!

It is one minute before the explosion; the Yellowstone national park supervolcanic eruption is just about to occur, and no-one is suspicious. Suddenly the ground begins to bulge up this being due to the pressures underneath Yellowstone, which as mentioned would lead to a massive explosion. This would project rocks shooting up into the atmosphere. This eruption will lead to a series of events; affecting every state in the U.S.A and then every country in the world.

A plane is travelling over Yellowstone national park 35,000 feet into the air; suddenly it is pulverized like an iron fist of molten rock, this plane would be disseminated immediately. Furthermore, a seismic shockwave never been seen before, or experienced by humans on earth would be released. t would be equivalent to a magnitude eleven earthquake. This would wipeout Wyoming, imagine blowing up all nuclear arsenals found on earth and then times this by five hundred. This would be the strength of this eruption; it is significantly immense and devastating for the whole world.

Ten seconds after the eruption

Seismic graphs all over the world would be registering this event. Imagine you are stood seventy-five miles away, you would just see a rod of light firing up into the sky one hundred miles high, and seventy-five miles away, in ten seconds, the shock wave would hit you. It would be travelling 18,000 miles per hour; buildings would begin to collapse. In less than just one minute, 25,000 people would immediately be dead….

Within this time the shockwave will extend five hundred miles in all directions, but this is just the beginning. Imagine you are holding a stone and you drop it into a pond, you begin to see ripples over repeatedly, they start off strong and get weaker and weaker. This is exactly the same, these ripples will extend hundreds of miles, seismic waves just spread across landscapes easily destroying everything in its path, knocking down buildings, throwing cars, knocking people to the ground. Within this time these shock waves would even extend to the far reaches of Canada and even the sandstone arches in Utah would just crumble and fall apart.

6 minutes after the eruption

Within 6 minutes of the hyper eruption, a mushroom cloud would extend high into the sky, estimated to be as high as fifty to sixty miles. Any nearby water sources would be turned into a mini tsunami, anyone nearby would just drown. After the initial shock wave, you would then feel the effects of the explosion, well, the sound produced by the explosion. This wave would travel a lot slower because sound travels through the air which is not a solid surface. This wave would be that intense it could burst your eardrums and even deafen you. Imagine you just have buildings fall around you, you have been knocked to the ground and then this intense explosion is nearing enough piercing your eardrums. This sound would be as far as 2000 miles away, it would be as strong as 150 decibels.

Suddenly just like that the eruption ends, just after ten minutes, leaving 35,000 estimated to be dead although devastating the effects just seem to be localised, but remember let us not forget that molten rock that was fired fifty miles above the atmosphere. These rocks would turn into red hot projectiles and would rain down back to the earth as if they were small asteroids. These projectiles would reach the borders of Canada and the United States they would begin to smash cars, windows and even buildings. The amount of projectile is equivalent to three cubic miles of material, that’s equivalent to 12,000 empire state buildings, these rocks could be a small as a pebble or as large as a building, they would literally be a replica of asteroids hitting towns and cities cause immense damage to everything in its path. Survivors would be lucky; the only survivors would be the ones lucky enough not to get hit by any of these rocks.


2 Hours after the eruption

People around the world would begin to hear the explosion as it travels 767 miles per hour the sound would take 6 hours to hit Europe Africa and Asia, and you won’t just hear it once this sound travel at least three to four times around the world. It would hit roughly once every thirty-two hours.

How would people be affected around the globe?

Well, one month after the initial explosion sulphuric gases that were released into the atmosphere would most probably lead to a volcanic winter. Sulphur in the atmosphere would be converted to sulphuric acid, as it rains down it would kill vegetation and pollute water supplies. The sulphuric gas in the atmosphere would also reflect sunlight preventing any sunlight from hitting the surface of the earth. This would plunge the world into a sudden Ice age, civilization would be brought to his knees, and normal life will come to a grinding halt whereby millions would die. Survival would become a struggle, people would need to loot or stockpile, and very few would survive. They say the best survival areas would be either close to the equator or move north to Iceland or northern Canada where people already live in these similar conditions.

The idea of a hyper eruption is a worrying thought and one that should not be concerned about, although it is a possibility, the chances of this happening is extremely small and may never happen. Instead, we would just have to deal with a supervolcanic eruption.