Yellowstone volcano last erupted on a major scale 640,000 years ago, and if it were to happen today, the results could be catastrophic. If the Wyoming volcano were to erupt an estimated 87,000 people would be killed immediately and two-thirds of the US would immediately be made uninhabitable.
The large spew of ash into the atmosphere would block out sunlight and directly affect life beneath it creating a ‘nuclear winter’.
Konstantin Sivkov, the Russian president of the Academy of Geopolitical Problems, wrote in an article for Russian media outlet VPK News that it would only take a “small push” to provoke an eruption at the US’s most feared super volcano.
As translated by the Sydney Morning Herald, Mr Sivkov wrote: “Geologists believe that the Yellowstone super volcano could explode at any moment.
“There are signs of growing activity there. Therefore it suffices to push the relatively small, for example the impact of the munitions megaton class to initiate an eruption.
“The consequences will be catastrophic for the United States, a country just disappears.”
But the USGS has disputed anything actually happening if this did in fact happen.
Michael Pond, geophysicist with the US Geological Survey and Scientist-in-Charge of the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory, said: “YVO has noted, with some amusement, tabloid headlines about various diabolical schemes to trigger an eruption of Yellowstone by nuking the caldera.
“If you find these crazy schemes somewhat unnerving, please don’t be concerned – such a plan has zero chance of working!
“You see, unlike science fiction stories, in which nuclear weapons seem to be the cause of, and solution to, many geological catastrophes, science fact tells us that you aren’t likely to trigger a Yellowstone cataclysm with a nuclear weapon.
“How do we know? It’s because this experiment has already been tried.”
According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), the chances of a Yellowstone eruption on a yearly basis is around one in 730,000.
With 640,000 years having passed since the last major eruption, Yellowstone is edging closer to exploding – but it could still be thousands of years away.
Journalist Bryan Walsh wrote in his new book End Times, which explores the ways in which life on Earth could come to a halt: “We’re closer to Yellowstone’s next super eruption than we are distant, but that day – should it come – is still likely tens or even hundreds of thousands of years away.”
However, when that day does come, there would be chaos across the United States, with repercussions being felt all around the world. Mr Walsh wrote that earthquakes around Yellowstone would gradually increase in both frequency and intensity as magma rushes towards the surface, exploding out like champagne in a bottle, covering the region in lava within a 40-mile radius.
However, alarm bells should not start ringing just yet as the USGS reports the chance of Yellowstone erupting is a tiny 0.00014%.
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