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Roger Weller, geology instructor

Yellowstone Caldera
by Raakia Jones-Eaton
Physical Geology
Fall 2015
                                                                                The Yellowstone Caldera

            The Yellowstone Caldera is known as one of the vicious super volcano known today located in Wyoming. A super volcano is classified as a magnitude of eight or more on the Volcano Exclusivity Scale. Despite the contradiction of when the super volcano will explode scientists have predicted the outcome will be deadly and will have long term effect on the United States and other parts of the world. Learning about the effects could help people prepare for when the volcano erupts.  The effects of the Yellowstone Caldera erupting includes global environment change, nuclear winter, and a shortage of civilization.

            One effect of the Yellowstone Caldera erupting is global environment change. There will be a series of earthquakes, which will swell up the opening of the magma chamber. Then the pyroclastic cloud and flow would form releasing molten rock, gas, and volcanic ash. The cloud would flood the sky covering from Wyoming to possibly Vegas, and the flow would burn anything in its path leaving nothing untouched. Massive quantities of lava will spew from the top covering up the entire state and some of the surrounding states. Other calderas would form in the surrounding areas due to a shift in the ground. The volcanic ash would cover the sky sending us into a nuclear winter lowering the temperature. The ground for vegetation will be destroyed from the thick ash covering the ground making it hard for farmers to plant crops. Animals will be endangered and some possible extinct. Plants will also be destroyed but eventually, it will reproduce.  The United States will have a hard time to building back up again it could take several years. Although there will be enough signs ahead of time to let people know when the volcano will begin to erupt there will not be enough time to clearly evacuate everyone. No one has been around to see a super volcano explode like Yellowstone but scientists are hoping the effects will be similar to other super volcanos they have studied. There will be global environment changes when the Yellowstone Caldera erupts.

Another effect of the Yellowstone Caldera erupting is a nuclear winter. A nuclear winter according to UCSB ScienceLine is when there is so much volcanic ash in the atmosphere blocking out the sun. The thickness of the volcanic ash will act as a blanket surrounding the sun. Even though the volcano will exploded in the United States, other countries will be without the sun as well. With the sun, being blocked from the volcanic ash the temperature will begin to decrease and lead the United States into a mini Ice Age. Food source will eventually be depleted and it will be cold to survive. The volcanic ash will be in the air for several years making it hard for vegetation. Nuclear winter will be one of the lasting effects from the Yellowstone Caldera erupting.

            Finally the last effect of the Yellowstone caldera erupting will be a shortage of civilization. With the widespread flow of lava, more than 90,000 people will die in the immediate surrounding area. Communication lines will short circuit from the interfacing with the ash. Transportation will be stopped due to the thickness of ash covering the sky making it hard to see.  The food shortage will be depleted and cause people to starve to death. Due to fear and panic, those who survive will have to protect themselves from looting. The volcanic ash in the air would make it difficult for people to breath; some will result in death or a form of illness. With the volcanic ash everywhere, the water supply will be contaminated eliminating our water source.  Volcanic ash would pile up thick on building’s rooftops causing them to collapse. In worst case, scenario civilization could become extinct.  Civilization will slowly deplete when the Yellowstone Caldera erupts.

            In conclusion, one of the super volcano known in the United States is the  Yellowstone Caldera in Wyoming, when it erupts it will cause a deadly and long term effect throughout the United States. Scientist are closely monitoring the Yellowstone Caldera and other super volcano that are similar in hopes of preparing an evacuation plan.  Scientist are also hoping that it will be a minor explosion. Yellowstone Caldera erupting will cause effects global environment change, nuclear winter, and a shortage of civilization.


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