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The Yellowstone's danger is higher than it seems: the ancient supervolcano was explosive

The Yellowstone's danger is higher than it seems

The specialists from the Geological Society of America have traced the long history of Yellowstone. For all the time the Earth has existed, volcanic eruptions were considered as the most extreme phenomena on the planet. It was they who could create the uneven surface of the Earth. The volcanoes can change the climate of the planet, and only a few of the existing ones are recorded in the geological reports.

Today the scientists announced two new super-eruptions that they have identified as related to Yellowstone. Both could be the biggest catastrophic events. And the hot spot that feeds the famous geysers and fumaroles in Yellowstone National Park may decrease. To study that process, the scientists used a combination of different methods, including magnetic data and radioisotope dates.

Thus, volcanic deposits on tens of thousands of square kilometers were compared. Volcanologist Thomas Nott says that minor eruptions were discovered, nothing of them was known. And in the past, at least two super-eruptions have occurred.

They are recorded approximately 9 million and 8.7 million years ago. Those sediments that were previously taken for the consequences of small eruptions actually turned out to be a volcanic layer of two previously unknown super-eruptions.

What happened later in time is now recognized as the largest recorded event in the entire volcanic province of the Snake River and Yellowstone. British Geological Survey experts estimate the strength of that eruption in 30% more powerful than the data on the Huckleberry Ridge record holder. It had very large fantastic consequences, destroying huge areas.

A huge amount of carbon dioxide was in the atmosphere, affecting the climate. These two eruptions entailed six more, not so powerful in strength. It means that the frequency of repeated eruptions of the Yellowstone hotspot in the Miocene averaged once in 500 thousand years.

The last super-eruption was 630 thousand years ago. The scientists suggest that the gap between events could be 900 thousand years.