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What if Yellowstone exploded with all of its might?

When we talk about Yellowstone's volcano, we commonly refer to it as a supervolcano, but most people are unaware that Yellowstone has the potential to generate a hyper eruption. A hyper eruption is not something we hear about very often, but it is possible, and the consequences would be far more severe than those of a supervolcano.

A volcano is often made of a thin crust that builds up over time, then releases and generates the volcano. Yellowstone, on the other hand, is unique in that its crust is estimated to be roughly one hundred miles thick, and gas migrates up and gets trapped around 50 miles deep beneath this one-hundred-mile-thick crust. This gas now begins to build up, causing a great deal of pressure. This pressure, which builds up over time and pushes against the crust's hundred-mile thickness, causes the crust to erupt. This explosion has the potential to cause a hyper eruption, resulting in fifty miles of crust being pushed into the air, resulting in extremely dangerous conditions.

Here is what might happen if Yellowstone erupted to its full might.

The ground in Yellowstone national park begins to bulge up as pressures underneath Yellowstone begin to intensify.

Yellowstone erupts projecting rocks shooting up into the atmosphere.

A seismic shockwave never seen before, or experienced by humans on earth would be released.

This would wipe out Wyoming, imagine blowing up all nuclear arsenals found on earth and then times this by five hundred.

Ten seconds after the eruption

Seismic graphs all over the world would be registering this event.

People stood seventy-five miles away, 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.

It would be travelling at a speed of 18,000 miles per hour, causing buildings to collapse. 25,000 people would perish in less than a minute....

The shockwave will go 500 miles in all directions, but this is only the start.

These seismic waves would quickly travel hundreds of miles over landscapes, killing everything in their path, including buildings, cars, and people.

Approximately 6 minutes after the eruption

A mushroom cloud would rise high into the sky, possibly reaching fifty to sixty miles in height.

Any adjacent water source would be transformed into a miniature tsunami.

After the initial shock, you'd feel the consequences of the explosion, or at least the sound it made.

This wave would be so powerful that it would rupture people's eardrums and perhaps induce deafness.

This sound would be heard up to 2000 miles away and would have a decibel level of 150.

10 minutes after the eruption

The eruption stops abruptly, just 10 minutes later, with 35,000 people reported to have died. Although terrible, the impacts appear to be localised, but remember that molten rock was fired fifty miles into the atmosphere.

As if they were little asteroids, these boulders would transform into red-hot bullets and fall down on the ground.

The projectile is equivalent to three cubic miles of material, or 12,000 empire state structures. These rocks may be as small as a pebble or as huge as a building, and they would be a reproduction of asteroids crashing into towns and cities, causing massive destruction to everything in their path.


As the explosion travels at 767 miles per hour, people all over the world will hear it. It will take 6 hours for the sound to reach Europe, Africa, and Asia.

What impact would this have on individuals all around the world?

Sulphuric gases discharged into the atmosphere one month after the original explosion would almost certainly result in a volcanic winter. Sulphur in the sky would be transformed to sulphuric acid, which would kill plants and harm water supplies when it rained down.

The sulfuric gas in the atmosphere would deflect sunlight, preventing it from reaching the earth's surface. The planet would be thrown into an abrupt Ice Age, civilisation would be brought to its knees, and normal life would grind to a standstill, killing millions.

People would have to pilfer or hoard to survive, and only a handful would make it out alive. Perhaps the best surviving places would be near the equator, or moving north to Iceland Canada, where people already exist in similar circumstances.

The prospect of a super eruption is a frightening one, but it is one that should not be feared; while it is a possibility, the chances of it occurring are extremely remote, and it may never occur.