A super volcano or super
volcanic eruption is a volcanic eruption with ejecta
greater than 1,000 cubic kilometers (240 cubic miles),
which is substantially larger than any volcanic event in
historic times. Super volcanoes can occur when magma in the
Earth rises into the crust from a hotspot but is unable to
break through the crust. Pressure builds in a large and
growing magma pool until the crust is unable to contain
the pressure. They can also form at convergent plate
boundaries (for example, Toba). Super volcanoes are
relatively new to science.
The Discovery Channel has
documented seven known super volcanoes: the Yellowstone,
Long Valley, and Valles Calderas in the United States;
Lake Toba, North Sumatra, Indonesia; Taupo Volcano, North
Island, New Zealand; Aira Caldera, Kagoshima Prefecture,
Kyūshū, Japan; and the Siberian Traps, Russia.
Although there are only a handful of super volcanoes, super
volcanic eruptions typically cover huge areas with lava
and volcanic ash and cause a long-lasting change to
weather (such as the triggering of a small ice age)
sufficient to threaten the extinction of species.
When the super volcano at
Yellowstone last erupted 640,000 years ago, the magma and
ash ejected from the caldera covered most of the United
States west of the Mississippi river and part of
northeastern Mexico. Another such eruption could threaten
civilization. Such an eruption could also release large
amounts of gases that could alter the balance of the
planet's carbon dioxide and cause a runaway greenhouse
effect, or enough pyroclastic debris and other material
may be thrown into the atmosphere to partially block out
the sun and cause a volcanic winter, as happened in 1816,
the Year Without a Summer. An eruption may cause the
immediate deaths of millions of people several hundred
miles from the eruption, and perhaps billions of deaths
worldwide due to the failure of the monsoon, as well as
destruction of the "American breadbasket",
causing starvation on a massive scale.
National Geographic interactive animation: When Yellowstone
Due to the volcanic and tectonic nature of the region, the
Yellowstone Caldera experiences between 1000 and 2000
measurable earthquakes a year, though most are relatively
lesser, measuring a magnitude of 3 or weaker.
earthquakes are detected in a relatively short period of
time, an event known as an earthquake swarm. In 1985, more
than 3000 earthquakes were measured over several months.
More larger swarms have been detected since 2008, with
hundreds of quakes detected
under Yellowstone Lake. The USGS states that these swarms are
caused by movements of magma and hydrothermal fluids.
To help resist this form of catastrophe, the Vivos
shelters are designed to withstand:
Extreme external fires at 1,250 Fahrenheit
450 MPH surface winds
100 LB hail stones at speeds of 100 mph
Force 10 earthquakes in successions
20 megaton air burst detonated 10 miles away
snow and rain
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Supervolcano; it is used
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