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13 October 2017, 04:26 | Dale Webster
STUDY The team spent two weeks examining the Yellowstone supervolcano
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.
It could blow much faster than previously expected, potentially wiping out life as we know it.
Ash from a mega-eruption at Yellowstone would spread across the US, covering nearby states such as Wyoming, Idaho, Colorado and Montana in up to three feet of ash, according to a 2014 study of what might happen if a supervolcano erupted, and blanketing the Midwest and other parts of the USA, killing animals and plants, affecting the power grid and destroying buildings, causing a volcanic winter.
The volcano can belch out more than 1000 cubic kilometres of rock and ash - 2500 times more than Mount St Helens did in 1980, the ASU researchers found. Until now, geologists had thought it would take centuries for the supervolcano to make that transition.
"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.
Tiny crystals left over from underground magma at Yellowstone show the first sign of the last supereruption was a spike in temperature that coincided with the movement of new magma into the reservoir beneath the supervolcano.
Earlier, scientists believed that the reservoir is drained out after every blast and would take a long time to refill. Those scientists were able to determine the accelerated rate of temperature change by analyzing minerals in fossilizedash.
"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", Shamloo told The Times, cautioning that more research is necessary before definite conclusions can be drawn.
"We are all just living at the mercy of the super volcano under Yellowstone".
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