Yellowstone National Park sits atop a supervolcano, which according to a new scientific study, could erupt at any time and "change the entire climate of the earth." As if we didn't have enough to worry about with all the damn Sharknadoes, now we've got spontaneous supervolcanic eruptions to deal with! Whatever you do, don't tell Michael Bay about this.
The research suggests that a supervolcano could erupt without an external trigger, like an earthquake. If you've seen Dante's Peak you should know that volcanic eruptions are preceded by a series of events, these can help warn people to get the hell outta Dodge. However, this new study claims that apocalyptic-size volcanic eruptions are caused by magma buoyancy, which makes them wayyyy less predictable than was once believed. These supervolcanos can erupt "with no outside cause." Over 1.2 million computer simulations of eruptions were conducted. Two studies by two separate teams of geologists were published in Nature Geoscience. Both came to the same conclusions. Supervolcanos can erupt without any external factors.
It gets worse: "the density between magma and the surrounding rocks in these super-volcanoes is enough to tear open a huge crack in the earth's crust." Unlike your run-of-the-mill volcano, supervolcanoes "don't actually erupt, they 'explode'." If you've seen an episode of The Real Housewives of New Jersey, you know what I'm talking about. Up until now, scientists have believed earthquakes were connected to these eruptions.
"Researchers at ETH Zuich have now been able to determine the density of the magma using X-rays from ESRF. They used the latest technique to 'artificially produce magma melts under different pressure and temperature conditions.'...the team then constructed mathematical models to explain the conditions in a supervolcano....'Until now nobody had measured the density of the magma present in the magma chambers of super-volcanoes."
Supervolcanoes normally erupt every 100,000 years or so, so we still have some time to enjoy the scenic beauty of Yellowstone National Park, you can still mosey along Grand Prismatic Spring,Black Pool, and Morning Glory without fear of a supervolcanic eruption. But I still wouldn't suggest skinny dipping in the geothermal springs. Unless you want to reenact that scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark when that Nazi guy's face melts off.
[via Natural World News]