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3.22.2005

Yellowstone Supervolcano Unknown by Nearly Two-Thirds of Adult Americans

This article from PRNewswire really sends the message that most people are not aware of the historical existance of cycylical catastrophes. If science were open enough to allow real research to be distributed and credited on a mass scale, our society would be much more aware and not so inert.


SILVER SPRING, Md., March 21 /PRNewswire/ -- Results from an online survey conducted for Discovery Channel by Harris Interactive(R) reveal that only 22% of adults in America are aware of the term "supervolcano." Supervolcano is a term used to describe a volcano containing a large caldera able to produce an exceedingly large, catastrophic explosive eruption, in some cases over 100 times bigger than anything experienced by humanity over historic time. In scientific terms, a supervolcano implies a volcanic eruption of a magnitude of 8 on the Volcano Explosivity Index, meaning that more than 1,000 cubic kilometers of magma are erupted. When told that Yellowstone National Park, the home of "Old Faithful," is one of the few known examples of a supervolcano, 64 percent of adults surveyed said that they were unaware of that fact.

[...
Upon hearing that scientists have determined that the history of the
Yellowstone supervolcano suggests it explodes regularly, approximately every 600,000 years, and that Yellowstone National Park was formed by the last explosion, which was 640,000 years ago
-- making it now, by these measures, overdue -- 81 percent of adult Americans said they were not aware that this type of eruption underneath Yellowstone is likely to happen again. To-date, evidence points to three super-volcanic eruptions blasting through Yellowstone: 2.1 million years ago, 1.3 million years ago, and 640,000 years ago. The force of a single super-eruption at Yellowstone would be the equivalent of 1,000 Hiroshima bombs exploding every second. The fallout effects are massive, including blizzards of ash, ozone depletion, dropping temperatures, and mudflows.