Human brains may be ‘popped apart’ due to the Yellowstone eruption.
Scientists warned in a documentary that when the supervolcano at Yellowstone National Park erupts again, human brains could be “popped apart.”
An enormous magma chamber lies beneath the surface of Yellowstone National Park, which is home to a plethora of geysers and hot springs.
The magma chamber is 80 kilometers (50 miles) long and 20 kilometers (12 miles) wide, according to an eight-year analysis of earthquake data.
A caldera, a large volcanic crater formed after a magma chamber has been emptied, has been formed by three previous eruptions.
This spans 70 kilometers (43 miles) by 45 kilometers (28 miles).
The three supereruptions occurred approximately 640,000 years ago, 2.1 million years ago, and 1.3 million years ago, respectively.
Despite the fact that Yellowstone is ‘due’ an eruption, scientists believe the proportion of molten rock in the magma chamber is far too low to allow for another supereruption — the last of which dwarfed anything seen in modern times.
The eruption 640,000 years ago was estimated to be 1,000 times larger than Mount St Helens’ devastating eruption in 1980.
The Mount St Helens eruption in Washington state killed 57 people and turned hundreds of square miles into wasteland, causing over (dollar)1 billion (£737 million) in damage (equivalent to (dollar)3.5 billion or £2.5 billion today).
Eruptions with a Volcanic Explosivity Index (VEI) of 8 are classified as supervolcanoes.
The VEI for Mount St Helens was 5.
When magma rises in the mantle but is unable to break through, eruptions occur.
Pressure builds in a large, constantly growing magma pool until the crust can no longer withstand it.
These eruptions can take place at hotspots like Yellowstone or subduction zones like Toba in Indonesia.
‘Super Volcanoes,’ a 2004 Naked Science documentary, looked at how a Yellowstone eruption would affect the rest of the world, particularly the United States.
The explosion itself would be massive, but it would be nothing compared to what would happen next.
“One of nature’s most deadly forces would spread out from Yellowstone — violent, deadly clouds of rock, ash, and gas called pyroclastic flows,” the documentary’s narrator said.
“Pyroclastic flows are the nastiest of all volcanic phenomena,” said Professor Bill McGuire, one of Britain’s leading volcanologists, in the documentary.
They’re fragmented magma blasts, hot ash, and incandescent.
“News from the Brinkwire.”