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Sunday, 6 February 2011





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World's largest super volcano to erupt?

Scientists say that the world's largest super-volcano in Yellowstone National Park has increased in height over the years and could erupt in the future.

 Yellowstone National Park’s Caldera - On the verge of a catastrophe?

Yellowstone National Park's caldera has erupted three times in the last 2.1million years and researchers monitoring it say we could be in for another eruption.They said that the super-volcano underneath the Wyoming park has been rising at a record rate since 2004 - its floor has gone up three inches per year for the last three years alone, the fastest rate since records began in 1923.It would explode with a force a thousand times more powerful than the Mount St Helens eruption in 1980.

Spewing lava far into the sky, a cloud of plant-killing ash would fan out and dump a layer 10ft deep up to 1,000 miles away.Two-thirds of the U.S. could become uninhabitable as toxic air sweeps through it, grounding thousands of flights and forcing millions to leave their homes.But hampered by a lack of data they have stopped short of an all-out warning and they are unable to put a date on when the next disaster might take place.When the eruption finally happens it will dwarf the effect of Iceland's Eyjafjallajokull volcano, which erupted in April last year, causing travel chaos around the world.

The University of Utah's Bob Smith, an expert in Yellowstone's volcanism told National Geographic: "It's an extraordinary uplift, because it covers such a large area and the rates are so high. At the beginning we were concerned it could be leading up to an eruption."But he added: "Once we saw the magma was at a depth of ten kilometres, we weren't so concerned. If it had been at depths of two or three kilometre we'd have been a lot more concerned."

Robert B. Smith, professor of geophysics at the University of Utah, who has led a recent study into the volcano, added: "Our best evidence is that the crustal magma chamber is filling with molten rock.But we have no idea how long this process goes on before there is either an eruption or the inflow of molten rock stops and the caldera deflates again".

The Yellowstone Caldera is one of nature's most awesome creations and sits atop North America's largest volcanic field.Its name means "˜cooking pot"or "cauldron" and it is formed when land collapses following a volcanic explosion.In Yellowstone, some 400 miles beneath the Earth's surface is a magma 'hotspot' which rises to 30 miles underground before spreading out over an area of 300 miles across.Atop this, but still beneath the surface, sits the slumbering volcano.

Courtesy :Daily Mail


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