The last super eruption in the Yellowstone National Park was occurred around 631000 years age.
The supervolcano sitting under Yellowstone National Park in the USA could erupt much faster than expected, potentially wiping out life on the planet, Arizona State University researchers working around the area have said. Previously, researchers believed it would take centuries for these changes to take place.
"The discovery, which was presented at a recent volcanology conference, comes on top of a 2011 study that found that ground above the magma reservoir in Yellowstone had bulged by about 10 inches in seven years", Diebel adds. And a 2013 study reported that the magma reservoir that feeds the supervolcano is about two and a half times larger than previous estimates. This could mean that the last eruption occurred just decades "after an injection of fresh magma beneath the volcano".
Hannah Shamloo, the study's co-author was quoted by the New York Times as saying, "It's shocking how little time is required to take a volcanic system from being quiet and sitting there to the edge of an eruption". Also, another report informed that another eruption occurred about 1.3 million years ago which indicates that both the mega-volcanoes had nearly the same time frame of the eruption. But after examining fossilized ash, researchers at the University of Arizona realized that the conditions for a super eruption can happen in only a few decades.
Yet a massive eruption in the middle of the U.S.is still an unlikely event. Inside, they tracked the changes that the volcano went through before its eruption.
"It's an extraordinary uplift, because it covers such a large area and the rates are so high", volcano expert Bob Smith from the University of Utah told the magazine. The US Geological Survey has put the estimated yearly odds of another huge Yellowstone blast at 1 in 730,000 - about the same chance as Earth colliding with an asteroid.
Lead Image: Steam rises off the Grand Prismatic Spring, one of the most stunning hydrothermal features in Yellowstone National Park.