Volcano studies around the globe have found supervolcanoes do not cease activity after blowing up in a super-eruption. A supervolcano system like Yellowstone volcano would likely continue to spew volcanic material centuries after its eruption tore through the US. According to a study published by Oregon State University (OSU), super-eruptions are among the most devastating cataclysm known to man. Supervolcanoes have been known to choke out the skies and affect global weather for decades after erupting.
Because of this, OSU researchers have investigated the suspected links between recent volcanic blasts and ancient eruptions.
The scientists have found a connection between the eruption of Mount Sinabung in Indonesia and an eruption of the Toba Caldera from 74,000 years ago.
Adonara Mucek, the study’s lead author at OSU, said: “The recovery from a supervolcanic eruption is a long process, as the volcano and the magmatic system try to re-establish equilibrium – like a body of water that has been disrupted by a rock being dropped into it.
“At Toba, it appears that the eruptions continued for at least 15,000 to 20,000 years after the super-eruption and the structural adjustment continued at least until a few centuries ago – and probably is continuing today.
“It is the magmatic equivalent to aftershocks following an earthquake.”
When Toba last reared its ugly head, the volcano released 28,000-times more magma than the 1980 eruption on Mount St Helens in the US.
The resulting volcanic winter is believed to have lasted for years and scientists speculate it placed a bottleneck on human evolution.
Worse yet, supervolcanoes like Yellowstone and Toba have incredibly long lifespans – far longer than humanity has been on the planet.
Shanaka de Silva, an Oregon State University volcanologist, said: “Supervolcanoes have lifetimes of millions of years during which there can be several super-eruptions. Between those eruptions, they don’t die.
“Scientists have long suspected that eruptions continue after the initial eruption, but this is the first time we’ve been able to put accurate ages with those eruptions.”
Toby, which is believed to be at least 1.3 million years old, last erupted 74,000 years ago. The eruption was followed by at least six more blasts.
Yellowstone volcano last blew up some 640,000, 1.2 million and two million years ago respectively.
Following the most recent Yellowstone volcano eruption, the United States Geological Survey (USGS) has noted an eruptive period roughly 70,000 years ago.
And since the caldera-forming blast 640,000 years ago, there have been at least 80 “relatively nonexplosive” eruptions.”
In the case of the Toba Caldera, Dr de Silva said the supervolcano “remains alive and active today”.
He said: “The hazards from a supervolcano don’t stop after the initial eruption.
“They change to more local and regional hazards from eruptions, earthquakes, landslides and tsunamis that may continue regularly for several tens of thousands of years.”
Daily Express :: Science Feed