Yellowstone supervolcano could trigger an ice age far faster than anyone thought


“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,” said Hannah Shamloo, a graduate student at Arizona State University.

When Shamloo and her colleagues studied Yellowstone’s Lava Creek Tuff — a fossilized ash deposit laid down during its last supereruption some 631,000 years ago — they found that new magma had moved into the system faster than anyone had thought possible.

“We expected that there might be processes happening over thousands of years preceding the eruption,” said geologist Christy Till, Ms. Shamloo’s dissertation adviser. Instead, the supereruption may have transpired only decades after an injection of fresh magma beneath the volcano.

During that eruption of 631,000 years ago, the Yellowstone supervolcano expelled more than 1,000 cubic km (239 cubic miles) of rock and ash.

Think about that! — 239 cubic miles of rock and ash!

Can you imagine even one cubic mile of ash and rock? I mean, that’s one mile wide, and one mile long, and one mile high, taller than many mountains. Now picture 239 cubic miles.

Manhattan covers just under 23 square miles. Meaning that that much ash would have buried more than 11 Manhattans — one mile deep.

That much ash would have blanketed most of the United States and plunged the Earth into a volcanic winter — an ice age, in other words. And not your everyday, simple run-of-the-mill ice age.

The ash would have been deeper the closer it fell to the volcano. I remember reading (I don’t remember where) that the ash from that eruption measured more than 7 feet deep in eastern Nebraska, some 800 miles away.

Imagine how much of that ash – with its fine, glassy shards – must have washed into streams, rivers and lakes, and eventually into the oceans, killing almost all of the fish.

By the way, as I mention in Not by Fire but by Ice, that eruption of 631,000 years ago occurred at a magnetic reversal—the Delta magnetic reversal.

Thanks to Gordon Broussard, Benjamin Napier and scsi_joe for this link


16 thoughts on “Yellowstone supervolcano could trigger an ice age far faster than anyone thought

  1. Hi Robert!

    I am haunted by the photographic proof you documented that Antartica is gaining ice at an alarming rate.

    The photos of early expedition camps, cranes, and scientific colonies of the 20th century are now entombed under massively heavy ice.

    Could it be that;

    This massive cyclical formation of ice at the South Pole is a root causation of the formation of all the undersea volcanos at the North Pole?

    Could it be that the natural and cyclical formation of ice at the South Pole actually is the basic reason Earth is shaped like an egg instead of a basketball?

    Could it be that past super volcanic activity was caused by a sudden collapse of regions of Antarctica terrain finally bending to the massive amounts of accumulated ice depressing the landscape to the breaking point?

    Picture a simple rubber ear washing bulb. Its very shape tends to mimic the Earth’s global shape. But instead of our thumbs pressing the bulb to eject warm water to flush out our ears, the earth has a massive amount of ice pressing down on Antarctica to the Earth’s crust breaking point. And when the mass of Antarctic ice reaches its crust breaking point and collapses, the Earth squirts super volcanic explosions that trigger instantaneous and ccyclical and natural ice ages.

    I would love to hear what you and all think about this frightening hypothesis.

    Sincerely,

    Tom Rowan

  2. Hi Robert!

    I am haunted by the photographic proof you documented that Antartica is gaining ice at an alarming rate.

    The photos of early expedition camps, cranes, and scientific colonies of the 20th century are now entombed under massively heavy ice.

    Could it be that;

    This massive cyclical formation of ice at the South Pole is a root causation of the formation of all the undersea volcanos at the North Pole?

    Could it be that the natural and cyclical formation of ice at the South Pole actually is the basic reason Earth is shaped like an egg instead of a basketball?

    Could it be that past super volcanic activity was caused by a sudden collapse of regions of Antarctica terrain finally bending to the massive amounts of accumulated ice depressing the landscape to the breaking point?

    Picture a simple rubber ear washing bulb. Its very shape tends to mimic the Earth’s global shape. But instead of our thumbs pressing the bulb to eject warm water to flush out our ears, the earth has a massive amount of ice pressing down on Antarctica to the Earth’s crust breaking point. And when the mass of Antarctic ice reaches its crust breaking point and collapses, the Earth squirts super volcanic explosions that trigger instantaneous and cyclical and natural ice ages.

    I would love to hear what you and all think about this frightening hypothesis.

    Sincerely,

    Tom Rowan

  3. Low solar activity is linked to volcanic eruptions so as we progress to solar minimum – or possible grand minimum – we can expect more eruptions.

  4. The impact of Yellowstone and its impacts to the North American continent THEN, have no comparison to what would happen in todays world. Pull out a USGS topo graphic 15 minute map or pull up Google Earth and look at this area. Think what just a preliminary eruption would impact…the bread basket of the world, livestock production, transportation, communication, habitation, electrical generation; and it wouldn’t be like a natural event such as fire/hurricane/tornado where life is disrupted for a few months/years…this would be a world wide, multiple generation event that will take humans back to the stone age.

  5. I remember when NASA launched the MMS(magnetospheric multiscale mission) satellites. They were hoping to view deep into the earth’s magnetic resonance to further enhance the understanding of magnet draw and push of solar and inner earth working lines.
    To make a long story short NASA discovered that the theory of expanding earth due to loss of magnetism over thousands of years and the workings thereof creating major, past geological reformations hold truth.
    The MMS mission showing the earth to be expanding for thousands of years due to cooling core of earth, relaxing the magnetic flux given off into the atmosphere; hence, an expanding earth and more influence to incoming to solar and galactic solar radiation, influencing quakes and volcanoes to a large scale.
    Notice the trail of eruptions from Yellowstone looking into mirror of the past; boom, moves 100s of miles east, then boom, moves again 100s of miles east, boom. As long as the earth is expanding the magma is expanding(not relocating) due to expansion of earth mantel due to diminished flux connections between earth and sun during extreme grand solar minimums. I would beg to suggest that as long as magma is moving in the HUGE volume of underground chambers centered at Yellowstone expanding due earth expansion, no eruptions will ensue; when the expansion slows and the magma which has thusly flowed into new boundries and the proper cavities not yet structured underground will have the potential to go BOOM!
    Just a passing thought
    God Bless
    Pray for peace all

  6. It’s not Yellowstone you fellas have got to worry about.

    It’s the Toba caldera in Sumatra. The last eruption ejected 1000 cubic kilometres into the atmosphere and almost wiped out early humanity to a handful of survivors. We almost didn’t make it.

    It’s showing signs of waking up again.

    • The left don’t want to go at all Daniel. They and their oligarch colleagues feel entitled to rule every where and over everything and everyone. They will not be overthrown with out a fight to the finish. Just like in Roumania in 1989.

  7. I have always been amused about, expansion or bulges, in mountains, showing signs of increased pressure, or so we are told.
    And how many years have they been measuring this rising ground, about 20-30 years.
    In the time scale of yellowstone, what a joke, what about the expansion that took place 1000years ago, or 10,000 years ago, just a lead up to the future eruption, same with Naples, sitting on top of an active super volcano and hoping it won’t erupt, it will eventually.
    Maybe the only measurements of Naples could be in early paintings/photos of the area, superimposed on current photos, and see if there is a difference, that might take us back a few more 10’s of years, remember there was a small eruption in the area during WW2, has to be lots of photos from that time frame.

    • The situation in the Naples region is pure insanity from a public safety and urban planning stand point. The entire population needs to be relocated and not to Rome either.
      Rome itself is a bit too close to a large volcano/ caldera known as the Alban Hills….
      Those people have actually got towns and farms inside of the volcanoes crater. What madness!

  8. The climate has been changing (naturally) all the time for hundreds of millions of years.

    We are, or we have been, fortunate to live in a relatively short era of relatively modest climate change, enjoy!

    It won’t last forever.

    Nothing does.

    The only sure thing is that everything changes.

  9. Personally, living in the US (and I do love the West)… I am not going to worry about Yellowstone blowing it’s lid…at all.

    Why? well, because there is not one darn thing anyone can do about it. Yes, it would be devastating, especially to the US. Yes, I believe some day it will happen. But can you stop a volcano from erupting? I think not! (but yes I think it is possible to prepare to some extent for a return to another Ice Age… at least for some time)

    Worrying about things that have horrible consequences, but about which you can not do one single thing… is not only a waste of time but can make you sick from the stress. You are much more likely to end up dying from some stress induced disease… than from the Yellowstone caldera blowing sky high.

    Prepare to ‘”meet your maker” and be done with it. So try to live your life while you are in it… as best as you can. Love those you can, be kind whenever possible, work hard, and be honest.

    Opinion based on living 66 years (67 in a few weeks).

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