Massive volcanic super-eruptions bigger than those seen at Yellowstone took place between eight and 12 million years ago around Idaho’s Snake River Plain, researchers have discovered.
Scientists found evidence of at least 12 giant eruptions at the Yellowstone hotspot at a time of intense magmatic activity, a discovery that could shed light on the current state of the volcanic system.
These massive eruptions are believed to have burned an explosive path from Oregon towards Yellowstone over 16 million years.
The findings of the study are published in the Geological Society of America Bulletin. http://tinyurl.com/hy9wml7
One of the super-eruptions, which took place 8.1 million years ago, is believed to have been bigger those produced at the Yellowstone caldera.
The 12 ancient eruptions were also extremely hot – between 900-1,000C. In comparison, the eruption at Mount St Helens was about 350C.
Super-eruptions, along with large scale asteroid impacts, are among the most devastating events to affect our Earth’s surface.
“If we are successful in uncovering the global record of these central Snake River super-eruptions, we can build this into a global dataset to assess the true effects of these colossal events” scientists say.
The last time Yellowstone supervolcano erupted was 70,000 years ago.