The volcano located near Yellowstone National Park in northwestern Wyoming, USA, is showing signs of record activity and could make two-thirds of the country uninhabitable if it erupts. Geophysical reports commented that the volcano has increased its activity at a record pace since 2004. It’s floor has been inflating at a rate of three inches per year in the last three years, the fastest rate since records began in 1923.
The magma is now about 10 kilometers deep, so there is no need to worry about it now. But if it comes up to the level of two or three kilometers from the surface, then we have reason for concern, says Robert Smith, professor geophysics at the University of Utah. The volcano is believed to have had two major eruptions 2 million years ago, 1.3 million years ago and 642,000 years ago, respectively, which were supposedly more powerful than the spectacular 1980 eruption of Mount Saint Helens in Washington state.
Scientists say that the last time the volcano erupted (642,000 years ago), it destroyed everything in its path. It is estimated that the plume of ash thrown by the explosion reached about 30 thousand feet high and covered with dust the area between western USA and the Gulf Mexico. It is feared that if the volcano should wake up, the consequences will be catastrophic toxic air sweeps, forcing millions of people from their homes.
Yellowstone National Park covers nearly 900 hectares (about the size of the State of Connecticut) and has a gigantic volcanic crater of about 50 by 70 kilometers. Most of the park is located in northwest Wyoming, but there is a small portion that crosses the boundaries of Montana and Wyoming.
Yellowstone is famous for its geothermal phenomena, making up two-thirds of all the geysers in the world, and also has numerous hot springs. It is recognized by geologists and earth scientists as the world’s most dangerous volcano in the event of an eruption, giving it the category of ‘super-volcano’.