New study casts doubts on possibility of Yellowstone ‘super-eruption.’
“A joint research team from Washington State University and the Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre said the biggest Yellowstone eruption on record was actually two different eruptions at least 6,000 years apart,” says this article on Red Orbit.
According to the study, published in Quaternary Geochronology (June 12), “these eruptions are thought to have created the Huckleberry Ridge around 2 million years ago. The first eruption generated 2,200 cubic kilometers (528 cubic miles!) of volcanic material, while the second, smaller eruption generated 290 cu km (69 cubic miles!).
Sixty-nine cubic miles of volcanic material is NOT considered a super eruption?
One thing the article doesn’t mention, is that that eruption about 2 million years ago coincided with a magnetic reversal, and with the onset of glaciation.
“The first eruption is still considered to be ‘super’ according to the Volcanic Explosivity Index (VEI) and likely covered the sky in volcanic ash from California to the Mississippi River,” the article continues.
In comparison, the 1980 Mount St. Helens eruption and the Vesuvius eruption in 79 A.D. (which buried the cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum) both produced only about 1 cubic km (¼ cubic mile) of volcanic material, putting them in the middle of the pack at five on the VEI.
“This research suggests explosive volcanism from Yellowstone is more frequent than previously thought,” said study co-author Ben Ellis of Washington State University.
“While the last known Yellowstone eruption to cause a lava flow was about 70,000 years ago, smaller steam-only eruptions have caused seismic events like the one at Yellowstone Lake almost 14,000 years ago that created a 5 km crater. “
Just for the record, Yellowstone’s most recent super eruption – about 630,000 years ago – occurred at the Delta magnetic reversal, while the above-mentioned eruption of 70,000 years ago occurred in sync with the precession cycle and the abrupt onset of an ice age.
And, depending on how you date it, the more recent eruption occurred suspiciously close to the Gothenburg magnetic reversal, and with our entry into a drastic cooling known as the Younger Dryas (when the mammoths went extinct).
Just a coincidence? I doubt it.