Something I’ve become fascinated with lately is the idea of how a supervolcano eruption could ultimately decimate the human race. Most people that visit Yellowstone national park has no clue that underneath their feet, deep underground is a raging super volcano waiting to erupt. In this article, I will go into details as to what would happen if a super volcano would erupt. I will also try to determine where is it safe if Yellowstone Super Volcano Erupts.
The big question on peoples mind is where is it safe if Yellowstone Supervolcano erupts? During the eruption, people would need to evacuate the western part of the United States and head towards the eastern seaboard to ensure their safety.
We will look deeper into the issue of where it would be safe for Americans to go and also where the most dangerous places to be during the eruption. But First, where is Yellowstone?
Where Is the Yellowstone Supervolcano Located?
About 96 percent of the land area of the Yellowstone supervolcano lies within the state of Wyoming. An additional three percent is within Montana, and lastly, one percent in Idaho. The Yellowstone National Park is 63 miles (101 kilometers) north to south, and also 54 miles (87 km) west to east by air.
Even though most of Yellowstone National Park is in Wyoming, the states Montana, Idaho, and Utah will suffer some immediate destruction.
Days Before A Supervolcano Eruption
If the Yellowstone Volcano did erupt soon, we would have a reasonable bit of advising using dimensions of temperature level and also volcanic forecasting. Researchers would most definitely give an alert if the eruption loomed.
An alert would be seen days or weeks before the preliminary eruption. Researchers would initially report to the United States federal government before all else, claiming that a catastrophic and possibly world-ending event is beginning.
I have my doubts that the government would actually tell the public, but experts seem to think they would.
Full-scale emergency procedures would commence from coast to coast. The US federal government would order a mandatory evacuation to all its citizens from the complete western part of the nation. This would most definitely be the worlds largest full-scale mass evacuation in American and also global history.
Considering that people would only have days to leave the location and also their houses there would be turmoil for those trying to leave. There would, of course, be a lot of people that would stay behind to take advantage of looting empty homes.
Mass riots would spread across major United States cities, mostly in the west and almost entirely in densely populated areas.
After a couple of days, states like Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, and Utah would depopulate with almost everyone going across the Mississippi River.
Sadly, however, a lot of people would surely be stuck behind. Those who are without a vehicle in the urban areas or as well as the poverty-stricken rural area would need to find adequate shelter to protect themselves from the unbelievable amount of ash fallout heading their way.
Stock markets would crash around the world with economies jeopardized from the mere expectancy of the eruption.
The days before the eruption would certainly be loaded with panic, dread as well as significant shifts in demographics. Evacuees would absolutely make sanctuary eastern of the Mississippi or as for they might go.
What Would Happen If Yellowstone Erupted
Then one day the Yellowstone volcano begins its massive eruption. In less than ten minutes, the states of Montana, Idaho as well as Wyoming are literally wiped off the map as lava and ash blast through the land.
If the eruption were moving slowly enough, we would begin to see large changes in the activity in the geyser basins. The inevitable explosion would be around ten times larger than the eruption of Mount St. Hellen.
Watch the 4-minute video to see a play by play of the 1980 volcanic eruption of Mount St. Hellen. An explosion equivalent to 1500 Hiroshima nuclear Detonation.
Massive amounts of ash travel into the atmosphere as an ash cloud forms across the mainland USA. Up to a thousand-mile radius is covered in 10 feet of ashes making two-thirds of the country a barren and uninhabitable wasteland.
The amount of ash that goes into the earth atmosphere could possibly cause a global volcanic winter which would negatively affect the entire world.
After a week post-eruption, the government struggles to stay in control. The ash cloud would make air travel impossible as blankets of ash divide the nation in two and the people left in the western parts are now stranded.
In various other parts of the globe, many crops and also livestock will most likely die, leading to millions of fatalities from starvation. It is difficult to predict how the rest of the world would react to this kind of catastrophe.
Where Would It Be Safe If Yellowstone Erupt?
Head East! Like I mentioned above, the states of Montana, Idaho as well as Wyoming would be the most affected by the initial blast. I’m including a photo below of the projections some scientist believes would be how the catastrophic event would unfold.
Zone One would extend a radius of a hundred miles with over 70,000 people are living. If there were no successful evacuation attempt most, if not all of these 70,000 residences would die almost instantly.
Remember, 1500 times larger than the Hiroshima Atomic Bomb! West Yellowstone and Mammoth are the two major cities in Zone One that would be destroyed.
Zone Two would be approximately one hundred miles from the eruption. The earth in the second zone would break apart and unleash blazing hot gases and cover the landscape with ten feet (3m) of volcanic ash at temperatures around 750ºF (400ºC).
Past the second zone, the initial survivability increases but you would still need to head east as fast as you can because all types of travel would be impossible. The reason for this would be a significant amount of ash in the atmosphere.
The local wildlife and agriculture land would greatly suffer for decades to come.
Beyond zone 6 would be where you would be the safest in the United States. The entire eastern seaboard would still receive a small amount of volcanic ash fallout; But Florida, and from New York, all the way up to Maine would be safe for the short term.
The state of Alaska and of course Hawaii would most likely be safe as well. This all depends on which way the wind is blowing because the wind will greatly determine where most of the ash will fall.
The ash will not only destroy crops and kill most of the wildlife, but it will also significantly compromise the structural integrity of buildings across the western US. The volcanic eruption would also interfere with electronic communication; making it difficult to call for help or be able to reunite with loved ones.
If Yellowstone Erupts, Is Canada Safe?
Parts of Canada would be safe if Yellowstone’s supervolcano erupts. But not all of Canada would escape the initial and longterm damage caused by this catastrophe.
The Maritime Provinces (New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Newfound Land & Labrador), Quebec and Ontario, might escape the fallout altogether and become the safest places to be in Canada.
Of course, I would rather be in Nova Scotia versus Ontario. The farther you are from Yellowstone, the better.
The Northern Territories might also become a safe haven for Americans and Canadians alike escaping the danger zones. Just like America, Canada’s population would disperse wherever is the opposite direction of the volcanic ash fallout.
Let’s hope we would have enough time to make arrangements for our families to get to safety long before the eruption.
Many scientists believe that a supervolcano eruption would trigger a volcanic winter. Much like a nuclear winter, a volcanic winter is when there’s enough Ash in the atmosphere to cool down the planet by one or two degrees.
Two degrees doesn’t sound like much, but this shift in temperature could cause the deaths of Billions of people. Those deaths would not be caused by ash filled lungs but would be caused by starvation. A volcanic winter would cause the decimation of agricultural crops around the globe.
To put all of this into perspective, the 1815 eruption of Mount Tambora (Indonesia) cause a mid-summer frost in the State of New York and a June snowfall in New England.
The picture below will put the difference between the different VEI when comparing different historical volcanic eruption. Especially the difference between VEI-7 and the Yellowstone supervolcano’s VEI-8.
We all need to realize that Yellowstone’s eruption is not a matter of “IF,” its a matter of “When”! The when however could be as soon as next year or could be in well over 1000 years from now; But when there is an eruption at Yellowstone, it could be an earth ending event.
All these scenarios are just hypothesis; no one knows precisely what will happen during and after this type of eruption because the last supervolcano eruption was many thousands of years ago.
Knowledge is power; it’s wise to know at least where to find safety when a catastrophe like this happens.