Geology And Geophysics

Super Volcanoes that Threaten the Planet

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"Super Volcanoes that Threaten the Planet"
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The most violent super volcano explosion over the last several million years is thought to have killed an estimated 60% of humans alive at the time of its eruption.  Scientists can't predict when and where the next eruption will take place.  They haven’t even identified all of the world’s super volcanoes yet. 

Volcanologists do, however, have a list of suspects.  Could one of these volcanic villains be responsible for the end of the world as we know it? 

Lake Toba - About 75,000 yeas ago, Indonesia was home to what may have been the largest volcanic eruption in 25 million of years.  When this baby blew, ash was deposited in blizzard accumulation size all over Asia.  This eruption almost destroyed the human race.  Toba still hiccups but most scientists think she will not erupt in full force again any time soon. 

Long Valley Caldera - California can sleep more peacefully knowing their Caldera is in decline (largely crystallized).  In it’s hey day this baby packed a punch that would cover most of the West Cost and Rocky Mountains in ash.  Now, that's not good for tourism. 

Lake Taupo - Just a young buck at 26,000 years old, the caldera collapsed after its first explosion and become a lake.  It let loose again 2,000 years ago, but there is no written evidence that that eruption was responsible for significant climate change.

Valles Caldera – It’s been over a million years since this New Mexican Nightmare went ballistic, sending ash as far as Iowa.  Will she strike again?  No one knows. 

Aira Caldera - The featherweight of our list.  Throwing lots of small, powerful punches, she explodes with hundreds of small eruptions each year.  22,000 years ago she erupted with a force of 50 Mt. Saint Helen's explosions.  Does she still have that kind of punching power?  Scientist can’t say. 

Yellowstone - She could go at anytime.  While a Yellowstone explosion is unlikely to be as large as the last Toba blast, it could be enough to send North America and the rest of the world back to the Stone Age.  For those that just learned how to operate our IPhones properly, here's hoping she sleeps for a little while longer!

More about this author: Tim Souhrada

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