(Part of the EXODUS 2006 website)
This may be very significant to the End Days - fire and brimstone in large quantities. In recent years it has been discovered that Yellowstone is one of a few known examples of a supervolcano. These volcanoes erupt only rarely, but with a force at least 1000 times that of ordinary volcanoes.
Try to imagine 1000 volcanoes erupting in the same place at the same time.
A large part of the national park area is a giant crater formed by the last explosion 640,000 years ago. It is so large that it can only be seen from space. It fills most of the area covered by this map.
This has only been discovered in the past few years - I only came across it in a BBC TV Horizon program (I now have a copy of this on video). Check the links at the bottom of this page for the BBC transcript of the film.
It explodes regularly every 600,000 years - in between it is quiet, now it is overdue.
Modern humans did not exist last time this exploded but its effects are known - a herd of fossilized rhinos were found choked to death under the ash layer a thousand miles away. This was the first evidence of the size of the eruptions.
Most of America was buried under several feet of volcanic ash - and there were vast amounts of choking sulfurous gases. This has been going on for at least 10,000,000 years. The craters (calderas) from the last 3 eruptions have been identified and date from 600,000 years, 1,200,000 years and 1,800,000 years.
There is a giant blob of red hot magma 8,000 metres below Yellowstone, it has been building up since the last eruption and is fed from below. It is now 50 Km long, 30 Km wide and 10 Km deep and is full of dissolved gasses at enormous pressure.
The gases are the cause of the explosion that occurs once the eruption is underway - the magma pools below the surface under great pressure. When the steady build up of pressure finally forces a way through to the surface the effect is similar to removing the cork from champagne - the gases suddenly leave the liquid they were dissolved in and blow the liquid out of its container. Once an eruption starts it will accelerate until the whole pool of magma explodes, throwing at least 1000 cubic kilometers of hot material high into the atmosphere.
This is likely to happen soon, the area north of the lake has bulged upwards by almost a metre in 50 years. One side of the lake is creeping into the forest as the land rises. This type of rapid change cannot continue for long without something giving way, every year there are hundreds of small earthquakes.
This map shows earthquakes under the park, which occur almost daily - and the cumulative pattern reveals the likely size of the next crater.
The last time one of these things exploded is believed to have been 74,000 years ago at Tomba in Sumatra, there is a large lake filling the caldera at present. The program also revealed that other researchers, studying human genetics, had found evidence that humans came close to extinction between 70,000 and 80,000 years ago; the global population suddenly fell to around 5,000 people. This is now thought to be due to the effect on the world's weather due to the dust from the Tomba eruption.
The predicted effects of a Yellowstone eruption are immediate devastation of North America followed by several years of freezing weather for the whole world.
BBC Horizon - Supervolcanoes: Transcript of the TV program
Geology Maps (from Bob Smith's page - see below)
Links to other sites
Time Magazine Archive - Mass Extinction due to Volcanoes http://www.time.com/time/magazine/archive/1995/950918/950918.science.html
BBC News -
Scientists say the world's climate could be devastated by a rare but
catastrophic volcanic eruption
ScienceNet - Cutting Edge - Geologists warn of "Supervolcano" threat http://sciencenet.oit.net/slup/CuttingEdge/Feb00/supervolcano.html
of supervolcano that could blot out the Sun and bring a global
Home Page (Researcher and Author)
If you would like to view the Yellowstone earthquake maps:
Earthquakes at Yellowstone in the past year