The supervolcano under Yellowstone National Park may erupt sooner than previously thought – and wipe out life on Earth, researchers warned this week.
Scientists from Arizona State University who analyzed minerals in fossilized ash from the most recent mega-eruption about 630,000 years ago found the supervolcano woke up after fresh magma flowed into the caldera, a 40-mile-wide bowl, National Geographic reported.
The previous eruption occurred in about the same timeframe before that — 1.3 million years ago — meaning that the volcano may be primed for another explosion.
And the eruption may be a doozy — that spells doomsday.
The volcano can belch out more than 1,000 cubic kilometers of rock and ash — 2,500 times more than was Mount St. Helens did in 1980, the ASU researchers found.
Such an event could cover most of the US in ash and possibly plunge the Earth into a volcanic winter, they said, the New York Times reported.
The minerals revealed that changes in temperature and composition built up in only decades. Until now, geologists believed it would take centuries for the supervolcano to make that transition.
The new findings come on the heels of a 2011 study that found that ground above the magma reservoir had bulged by about 10 inches in seven years, the mag reported.
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SOURCE: NY Post, Yaron Steinbuch