About to blow? Supervolcano could wipe out most of America… and scientists fear it may be due to erupt
The giant magma pool could be closer to erupting than previously thought – and a similar super-eruption almost wiped out humans 74,000 years ago
Supervolcanoes with the power to destroy human civilisations may have much shorter fuses than was previously thought, scientists believe.
The news could be bad for the US, where a supervolcano is said to be simmering beneath Yellowstone National Park.
If it erupted, two thirds of the country could be rendered uninhabitable.
Supervolcanoes are fuelled by giant pools of magma that form deep underground.
Geologists had thought it took between 100,000 to 200,000 years for a supervolcano magma pool to build up enough pressure to erupt.
But the new study suggests that the giant magma bodies may only exist for a few thousand years, or even a few hundred, before exploding.
A magma reservoir six miles below Yellowstone has been rising at a record rate since 2004.
The Wyoming park sits above a gigantic plume of hot and molten rock that begins at least 400 miles beneath Earth’s surface and rises to 30 miles underground, where it widens to about 300 miles across.
Blobs of magma occasionally break off from the top of the plume, and rise farther, resupplying the magma chamber beneath the Yellowstone Caldera.