STUDY: Yellowstone super volcano eruption would be catastrophic for entire U.S.


The Grand Prismatic Spring, the largest in the United States and third largest in the world, is seen in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming. (Reuters / Jim Urquhart)

If the massive supervolcano at Yellowstone National Park erupted again, scientists believe it would blanket much of the United States in ash and potentially sever communication as well as travel between the country’s coasts.

The Grand Prismatic Spring, the largest in the United States and third largest in the world, is seen in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming. (Reuters / Jim Urquhart)
The Grand Prismatic Spring, the largest in the United States and third largest in the world, is seen in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming. (Reuters / Jim Urquhart)

According to a new study published by the US Geological Survey, cities about 300 miles away from the volcano’s location in Wyoming would be covered in up to three feet of ash as a result of a supereruption, the largest kind of volcanic eruption possible. More than 240 cubic miles of material would be expelled into the atmosphere, reaching cities like New York and Los Angeles on both sides of the United States.

In fact, the resulting ash cloud, or “umbrella,” as scientists called it, would be so strong that it would overpower normal wind patterns in North America, potentially grounding all air travel throughout the entire continent and radically altering the region’s climate. Electronic communication between the US’ East and West Coasts could also become complicated, if not hopeless.

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