Sunday night’s earthquake was a reminder that we live in a geologically active zone. As significant as last those events were, another region some 240 miles north of its epicenter has the potential to change the world forever.
Geologists believe Yellowstone sits over a hotspot, a plume of superheated rock rising from the Earth's mantle. As North America slowly drifted over the hotspot, the Yellowstone plume punched through the continent's crust, leaving a bread-crumb-like trail of calderas created by massive volcanic eruptions along Idaho's Snake River Plain, leading straight to Yellowstone.
It’s not a matter of if, but when Yellowstone erupts and many scientists believe we are due.
“That’s what is making us very nervous because the cycle time corresponds to the present day era,” said Dr. Michio Kaku, Theoretical Physics. “Every single burp, murmur of this gigantic potential super-volcano, including the rise of sea level has to be watched very carefully.”
Earthquakes are commonplace in Yellowstone. In fact they’ve had at least two earthquakes in the last week. Geologists use these quakes to collect data and they now believe there is a 37 mile long, 18 mile wide tube of magna that runs 3 to 7 miles deep, sitting beneath the park. It’s estimated that when this blows, it will be a thousand times bigger than 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens.
“When it blows, it could destroy the United States as we know it,” said Dr. Kaku.
So what can you do? All of Idaho and most of its surrounding states are within the perimeter of massive destruction. Dr. Kaku says it’s important to watch for the warning signs.
“All you can do is run,” continued Kaku. “You don’t get much warning. What happens is the ground starts to rise and more earthquakes take place. More ash and volcanic gases start to be unleashed. That’s about the only warning we get because we do not have a good way to predict volcanic eruptions.”
Geologists say the last major eruption occurred 640,000 years ago.
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