In a year that seems like it couldn’t get any worse, signs of a super eruption brew in Yellowstone. The Yellowstone National Park volcano suffered eighty-six earthquakes just this year, which causes many scientists to fear a super eruption is overdue. The last time the Yellowstone volcano erupted was 640,000 years ago, so perhaps it is time.
With that said, in an audio recording, a park ranger explained what exactly the seismic activity could mean. While the last eruption was a “caldera-forming eruption,” certain Yellowstone features suggest something different. Some studies suggest that a caldera-forming eruption could be due based on the timeline. Although, geographical evidence in Yellowstone national park suggests something different.
“The geysers, the hot springs, those are all evidence of the heat underneath us and the end of a volcanic cycle,” the park ranger explains. “So, what would most likely happen might be something like a hydrothermal explosion rather than an eruption.”
What’s the Difference Between an Eruption and a Hydrothermal Explosion?
Well, a hydrothermal explosion wouldn’t be a whole lot better than an eruption, though it might cause less damage. Hydrothermal explosions occur when extremely hot water contained in rocks close to the surface of the earth flashes to steam and explodes the confining rock. While it is similar to a Geyser, it is so violent, it expels debris everywhere. So this could cause a whole lot of damage to the surrounding area.
No, hydrothermal reactions are not eruptions, although they do come from the same energy source. Instead of magma rising to the surface it is extremely hot water. Again, this is not a whole lot better as the blasted debris could cause a lot of damage.
It really has felt like each month of 2020 has provided a new monster for Americans to deal with. From the coronavirus to the social unrest, to the brief stint with murder hornets, this will probably go down as one of the worst years in history. What better way to cap it off than with a hydrothermal explosion?