Yellowstone may erupt more often than previously thought

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.

Yellowstone sits on top of three overlapping calderas. (USGS)

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.

See entire article:

13 thoughts on “Yellowstone may erupt more often than previously thought”

  1. “… 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…”
    It probably caused great change in the Magnetosphere, don’t you think?
    Was it preceded by a great change in the magnetic field too?

    • As near as I can tell, all magnetic reversals have been preceded by a decline in field strength. It drops to about 15% of normal, and then reverses.

  2. Do you believe a large caldera like Yellowstone could have a eruption without any important previous warning?
    It has been very calm lately.

      • I just noted that the observatory at Yellowstone recorded 28 earthquakes in the month of April. Yellowstone was always more seismically active than the Long Valley Caldera, yet for some reason now, the Long Valley Caldera that used to record 14 to 20 earthquakes a week, is now showing about 30 earthquakes a week. And Yellowstone has gone from about 50% more activity than Long valley to only 28 quakes in one month? That IS a LOT of calm – or they have changed their reporting methods for some reason known only to them.

  3. Makes sense to me ^_^
    In fact, we had 2 earthquakes today in Wyoming.

    “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.”

  4. My theory [hollow earth] is that the magnetic reversal, being preceeded by a weakening of the magnetic field strength, thus allows more than usual amounts of cosmic rays to penetrate, thus producing more volcanic activity due to COSMIC RAY INDUCTION. This “induction” process is the same as like when one charges up a battery. Once the natural resistance [impedance] of the crust is over come that is when we experience volcanic eruptions. Since the earths magnetic field is known to be weakening, in a build up to another reversal, therefore we are already experiencing an increase in the amount of Cosmic Rays penetrating to the ground. Some one said we are getting at least four times more than before the weakening began. Since we are long over due for another super eruption we should be making preparations. However, since super eruptions are so damaging to life, is there really any hope of our civilization surviving it ? We are likely to go the same way as the mammoths and mastodons ! How many nuclear power stations will go melt down ? All of them ? How many spent fuel rod storage tanks will boil dry ? Probably all of them ? This is why all nuclear power stations need to be shut down now. If we have learnt anything from Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and now Fukushima it is that we need to put all of the spent reactor rods into dry storage containers now. Tomorrow is going to be too late.

    • First, all the animals on Earth did not die when last the Yellowstone super volcano erupted, including, early man. Second, a really big chunk of rock will come falling out of the sky some day and probably do more damage than a super volcano. Third, do you drive a car? Because, statistically, you could be dead in a car accident before either the first or second thing happens. Do you worry about that at all? We live until we die, whether by natural disaster, accident, murder, war, disease, or finally, old age. And that applies to the human race, too. We’ve only been fully human for less than 100,000 years. Do you think we’ll make it to one million? After you are dead, does it matter? Don’t worry. Be happy. Change what you can. Accept that which you can’t.

  5. The Yellowstone Volcano is scarey but, I find that our DHS buying 450 MILLION rounds of .40 caliber hollow point ammunition more scarey… That’s enough non-target ammunition to kill every American, Canadian, and Mexican Citizen… Now THAT is Scarey!

    • One in the heart and one in the head makes sure they’re

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