New research indicates catastrophic eruptions of super-volcanoes, could make thermonuclear war or global warming seem trivial, spewing untold tons of ash into the atmosphere to block sunlight. The result would be many years of frigid temperatures, wiping out millions of species.
A super-volcano that erupted 250 million years ago is now believed to have created the greatest mass extinction the world has ever seen, wiping out up to 95 percent of all plant and animal species. Some renegade scientists believe it was a volcano, not an asteroid, that killed off the dinosaurs 65 million years ago.
A new study by geophysicists from Vanderbilt, along with colleagues at the University of Chicago and elsewhere, documents several lines of research showing that the trigger could be pulled quickly, possibly within a few hundred years. Guilherme Gualda and his team studied deposits in the Long Valley Caldera in northeastern California, where a violent eruption blew 150 cubic miles of molten rock into the atmosphere, blanketing much of North America with hot ash and dropping the earth’s surface more than a mile as it sank into the area once occupied by the magma.
A couple of decades ago, trees began dying on nearby Mammoth Mountain from large amounts of carbon dioxide seeping from the magma, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Today, the caldera seems to be quieting down, despite several recent bursts of seismic events, but it is probably the most closely watched volcano on the planet.
Meanwhile, Scientists at Oregon State University have been focusing their attention on Yellowstone National Park, where an eruption a couple of million years ago is believed to have been 2,000 times larger than Mount St. Helens. Super-volcanoes cannot be ignored, and now it seems they can pull the trigger much more quickly than anyone had thought. Cheers.
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Source: Yahoo News
Image: Saraar Media