What's Under Yellowstone?

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Well-known member
May 4, 2005
Adelaide, South Australia
Many will have visited Yellowstone National Park, many have plans to visit, but what is under the Park? What makes it such a unique destination? I have just been reading a very interesting report on Discovery.com about the geological super volcano that is Yellowstone.
"Yellowstone National Park sits atop a subterranean chamber of molten rock and gasses so vast that the region, known for its geysers and grizzlies, is arguably one of the largest active volcanoes in the world."
"The crater atop Mount St. Helens is about 2 square miles. The Yellowstone "caldera" ? a depression in the Earth equivalent to a crater top ? is some 1,500 square miles."

Fascinating stuff and there is lots more to find out about this destination in this Discovery article. For starters why not check out this graphic on what could happen if  Yellowstone blew it's lid.

Discovery had a special on supervolcanos just last week, and spent much time on Yellowstone. Popular thinking among volcanologists is that it will erupt at any time now, but certainly within the next 20,000 years, and completely change life on Earth. It is said that its' eruption will be at least 1,000 times more powerful than the Vesuvius eruption which destroyed Pompeii in 79AD.
Karl, we might see that special down here this year or the next, wouldn't be holding my breath waiting for our networks to get their act together, that just isn't going to happen soon.

The graphics showing the likely outcomes of a blast from there were scary. It would need an almost complete evacuation of the entire USA to protect the people from the ash let alone from the blast from the initial explosion. Of course, hardly seems worth evacuating as the global environmental damage would be likely to kill off life as we know it. Daunting thought when you see information like that. All you can do is either ignore it or acccept it and ignore the consequences. Not a thing can be done to change the potential outcome.
Simply put Yellowstone has that large natural furnace under it to heat up the hot water for all those geysers. ;D ;D  Not to worry since if it ever does blow its all over and there is nothing that can be done to prevent it.  Live and have fun cause as Joe says life is not predictable.  Get to eatting that desert now. ;D :D
Yellowstone is heating up repidly.  Rangers report more hot mud and more hot springs every year.  Geologists say when it goes - it will wipe our all live in the northern hemisphere.  It will take out every thing east of the park the day it blows - all of northern Europe as the first plume circles and the dirt, dust and gas will work its way south at each turning of the earth.  They forecast it to be the biggest ever.
We saw the special last year and decided we were so close that we need not worry.  VBG  For Ian, If you look at the map you posted, go straight up from the northwest corner of Yellowstone to the red line and that is where I live!

Come on and visit!!
Hi Ian,

With the prevailing winds being generally west to east, I find it strange that the footprint of the ash fall out would be circular.  The fall out from Mt. St. Helen's blow was certainly not circular.  Could it be that the shape of the footprint somehow has to do with the magnitude of the forecast disruption?


As part of the graphics on the site it showed the fallout from Mt StHelens to be a long almost sausage shape.  What they expect with Yellowstone is going to be of such force and magnitude that it is likely to go up and down pretty much in the same shape as it takes off. Maybe that's why they are predicting a circular shape? To me, ignorant layman that I am, it seems sensible to expect the similar patter as MtStHelens. I cant see why it should be any different, at least in the early days. Later the pattern might be different because the global climate is going to be so different.
Of course it isn't likely to be in our lifetime or our children's lifetime either so when it does happen there will only be a few observers left on Earth, the rest of the people will be off around the galaxy watching it on Discovery. So what's it matter, eat the dessert ;)

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