Researchers believe that the planet may not be as safe and far away from the eruption of a supervolcano as initially thought. Namely, a team of scientists considers that the so-called sleeping supervolcanoes of the world are closer to waking up than believed. Such an event could allegedly take decades to happen, not millennia, as previously estimated.
Arizona State University researchers are behind this warning, and they presented their study conclusion at IAVCEI meeting in Portland, Oregon.
Sleeping Supervolcanoes Showing Signs of Unrest
The study team based its study on samples of volcanic rock taken from the Yellowstone. The National Park is known for harboring a supervolcano beneath its surface. Other famous examples of such formations are Campi Flegrei, in Italy, and Lake Toba, in North Sumatra, among others.
Previous research concluded that a volcano would need thousands of years of “preparation” before an eruption. Namely, it would first have to fill its magma chambers.
Believed to be a slow process, this latest research claims that, in fact, this can happen quite fast. The scientists argue that, in just decades, enough magma can accumulate in chambers to lead to an eruption.
“It’s shocking how little time is required to take a volcanic system from being quiet and sitting there to the edge of an eruption,” stated Hannah Shamloo, the study lead.
Still, Christy Till, who was also part of the research, does point out that there still could be pre-eruption processes that might require thousands of years of preparation.
The team based its conclusion on an analysis of the crystals in the volcanic stones collected from the Yellowstone Caldera.
One of the best-known sleeping supervolcanoes, Yellowstone was estimated to have last erupted 631,000 years ago. Scientists approximate that a supervolcano erupts around every 100,000 years.
As it is, the team behind this latest study considers that, even with this new information, science is still rather far from being able to predict when the next supervolcano will erupt, or which one it would be.
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