Yellowstone supervolcano may erupt sooner than anticipated
Researchers from Arizona State University analyzed minerals in fossilized ash from the volcano’s most recent mega-eruption (more than 630,000 years ago) and found some startling details, according to National Geographic.
The minerals showed that changes in temperature and composition had built up in only a few decades. Meaning, the conditions that lead to supereruptions could happen within a human lifetime, according to the New York Times.
Until now, scientists believed it would take centuries for the supervolcano to make this transition.
“We expected that there might be processes happening over thousands of years preceding the eruption,” study co-author Christy Till said in an interview with the Times.
If it does blow, the volcano has the ability to expel 1,000 cubic kilometres of ash and rock, which could blanket the United States and possibly send the world into a volcanic winter (volcanic ash and sulphur cutting out sunlight and cooling the Earth’s surface).