Most people visiting Yellowstone National Park don’t realize they are standing over an active supervolcano that will destroy most of western North America the next time it erupts. Yellowstone National Park is located within 3 volcanic calderas created following 3 supereruptions that occurred during the Pleistocene.

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Most people visiting Yellowstone National Park don’t realize they are standing over an active supervolcano that will destroy most of western North America the next time it erupts.  Yellowstone National Park is located within 3 volcanic calderas created following 3 supereruptions that occurred during the Pleistocene.    A volcanic caldera forms  when the chamber that held all that hot magma empties and collapses into a crater-like landscape.  The Yellowstone supervolcano erupted 2.1 million years BP; 1.3 million years BP; 640,000 years BP; and will erupt again at some unknown time in the future.  Scientists have no way of determining exactly when this will happen, but the catastrophe will likely destroy the United States as we know it.

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Diagram of the Yellowstone Supervolcano.

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Diagram of Yellowstone calderas formed following 3 supereruptions and 1 regular eruption.

Map showing how far a major ashfall occurs following supereruptions.  Minor ashfall would occur over a much wider area.

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