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Yellowstone warning as huge volcano 'gears up to explode': 'You couldn't do anything.'

YELLOWSTONE is one of the world's largest volcanoes, and geologists believe it is "gearing up to blow" one day in the "near future."

The volcano, one of only a few of the world's'supervolcanoes,' has erupted three times in the previous three million years. The most recent occurred 630,000 years ago and was 1,000 times larger than the Mount St Helens explosion in 1980, which cost more than a billion dollars (£741 million) in damage. During Yellowstone's most recent eruption, the massive volume of debris forced the ground to collapse, resulting in the caldera, a 55 km by 80 km depression.

If Yellowstone decided to erupt, the consequences would be catastrophic.

It has erupted three times in the last three million years, prompting some to ask if we should be concerned about another eruption in the near future.

However, if the eruption happened tomorrow and you lived in North America, there would be almost nothing you could do to prepare."

"Near future" can refer to hundreds of thousands of years in geological and volcanic terminology.

Because the severity of an eruption would push much of the magma to soar into the sky, much of Yellowstone's magma would not convert into lava.

It would then become ash particles in the air, little, searing shards of jagged rock.

This alone would have a significant impact on the United States and Canada.

Tens of millions of people would perish within a 1,000km (621-mile) radius.

When you breathe in the ash, it forms a cement-like substance in your lungs, causing suffocation.

Meanwhile, buildings would fall outside – just 30 cm (12 inches) of ash is enough to cause roofs to tumble in.

Experts believe that even if you were beyond the 1,000 km range, you'd be in jeopardy since a centimetre of ash would have fallen – a level that is still harmful to human lungs.

Some of the ash would fall in Europe, while the rest of the planet would face severe weather changes.

The global temperature would plummet by around 10°C and might continue for up to a decade.

The ash would also have an impact on food, water supply, and practically everything else on which we rely.

NASA, for example, has been working on measures to avert such a catastrophic disaster.

Increasing the amount of water in Yellowstone is one option that has been considered.

This would be done on a daily basis to remove heat and so lessen the likelihood of an eruption.

In practice, however, convincing legislators to support such an undertaking is unlikely.

Another concept conceived by NASA entails cutting a 10km hole into Yellowstone and injecting high-pressure water into it.

This would circulate the water and return it at an anticipated temperature of 350C (662F), gradually removing heat from the volcano day by day.

Estimates predict that such a project would cost roughly $3.46 billion (£2.69 billion), but it would provide electricity at competitive pricing, which is an alluring catch that may persuade policymakers to make the investment.