Click to viewDid you know there's a "supervolcano" underneath Yellowstone National Park? It covers some 925 square miles and it just "took a deep 'breath,'" causing the ground to rise 10 inches in some places. Is it going to erupt?
Well, according to scientists, probably not. But "probably not" is just another word for "maybe"! And "maybe" just means "yes, eventually." And "eventually" could be, like tomorrow!
See, there's a "swelling magma reservoir" about the size of L.A. just a few miles below the surface of Yellowstone that's causing the "deep breaths" that move the surface of Yellowstone. And if it explodes, this is what we're looking at:
- Ash will spew as high as 25 miles, possibly plunging the earth into a "volcanic winter" that could last years and just generally be a huge bummer.
- Debris and ash from the eruption could land hundreds of miles away, clogging rivers and getting your car really dirty.
- The volcano could continue to erupt for months, contributing to acid rain and creating toxic conditions that could theoretically render two-thirds of the U.S. uninhabitable. (Luckily, it would be the crappy two-thirds.)
So what do you do in the event of a supervolcano eruption? The two most important things to keep in mind are stay hydrated and don't be afraid to murder someone for food. Also, make sure you keep your iPhone charged! You'll want to Yelp the best places to sell your body for shelter, and also keep your Twitter followers updated about your terrific experiences eating person-meat in the twisted hellscape Volcanopolis (hashtag: #volcanofail).
But, okay, according to Bob Smith, a volcano doctor at the University of Utah, we're probably not looking at an imminent eruption, since the reservoir is so far below the surface—though he writes that "at the beginning we were concerned it could be leading up to an eruption." (How fun those meetings must have been!) But who do you trust, some kind of "professor," or your overactive imagination?