The Yellowstone Super volcano

What is a supervolcano? (u3049677)

Super volcanoes and normal volcanoes differ in a number of ways, the first of these being the shape of the volcano, in a normal volcano we have the typical cone shape, that is built up over the years via a number of eruptions. in a Super volcano the magma chamber is located underneath the ground, and there is no classical cone shape. The chamber (cathedral) is about 10 kilometers thick and fifty kilometers wide (approx size of the Yellowstone Super-volcano cathedral). in a Super-volcanic eruption more than 200 cubic kilometers of ash get ejected into the atmosphere this can change the climate of the world form and few decades to hundreds of years, and if enough ash gets into the atmosphere thus starting to block out the suns rays from reaching the earth can cause a volcanic winter.

Precursors to volcanic eruption (Trent Kelly)
Volcanoes are a constant important part in the Earth's system, however they also represent a serious threat to human society. More specifically super volcanoes such as the Yellowstone if erupted could cause catastrophic effects on the environment, with the direct impact affecting most of the northern hemisphere. This is why it is important to understand and be able to recognise precursors to such a super eruption. three primary precursors are evident; these are, gas fluxes, earthquakes or tremors, and hydrothermal reactions.

Chemicals Found Within the Yellowstone Supervolcano and Reactions With Our Atmosphere (u3035562)

Within any volcano, the magma lurking deep below releases cheicals in gas or liquid forms when it becomes depressurized or crystallized[1] . During an eruption however, the emissions from a super volcano such as Yellowstone, can cause a number of disastrous environmental effects as these chemicals are released into our atmosphere. These effects might include acid rain, sun blockage, and global cooling[2] .
Fortunately, Yellowstone has remained dormant for over 640, 000 years, and while it is impossible to prevent an eruption, scientists are constantly monitoring Yellowstone for volcanic activity and do not expect an eruption within the foreseeable future[3]

The Environmental Effects of a Yellowstone Eruption (Rachel Annetts)

The effects of a super volcanic eruption on our environment would be devastating. The eruption of Yellowstone would cause immediate destruction of every living thing in close proximity to the volcano and would also cause long lasting effects to life further away from volcano. Agricultural land and crops would be destroyed causing famine. Mass extinction could occur causing many plant and animal species to become extinct. If Yellowstone were to erupt in the near future it would end life as we know it, however the likelihood of it erupting in our lifetime or even the next few thousand years is highly unlikely.
  1. ^
    Hurtwitz, S. & Lowensten, J.B. 2008, "Monitoring a Super Volcano in Repose: Heat and Volatile Flux at the Yellowstone Caldera", Elements: U.S. Geological Survey, vol. 4, pp. 35-40.
  2. ^ Hill, D.P. & Lowensten, J.B. Smith, R.B. 2006, "Monitoring Super-Volcanoes: Geophysical and Geochemical Signals at Yellowstone and Other Large Caldera Systems", Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society America, vol. 3, no. 64, pp. 55-72.
  3. ^
    Christiasen, R.L., Heasler, H., Lowenstern, J.B., Morgan, L.A., & Smith, R.B. 2005, "Steam Explosions, Earthquakes, and Volcanic Eruptions - What's in Yellowstone's future?", U.S Geological Survey and the National Park Service - Our Volcanic Public Lands., vol. 5, no. 2, pp. 1-11