November 15, 2011
NASA: No Evidence Of 2012 Supervolcano
NASA said on Tuesday that there is no evidence of a massive supervolcano erupting in 2012, despite what some may believe.
A supervolcano refers to an explosive volcanic eruption that eject about ten thousand times the quantity of magma and ash that Mount St. Helens expelled in 1980.
NASA said Earth's surface has preserved clues of many massive supervolcanoes through hollowed-out calderas-craters that can be as big as 60 miles across after a volcano collapses from emptying out its entire magma chamber at once.
According to the space agency, the magma flow of Mount Toba in Sumutra that erupted about 74,000 years ago is the largest eruption that has ever occurred, releasing 700 cubic miles of magma and a thick layer of ash all over South Asia. The largest eruptions in recorded history was Indonesia's Mount Krakatau, which erupted in 1883 and left about 3 cubic miles of magma.
NASA said that a group of scientists used the count of all known supervolcanoes to calculate the approximate frequency of eruptions.
The researchers found that only 1.4 supervolcanoes erupt every one million years.
NASA said scientists have no way of predicting whether a supervolcano will occur in a given century, decade or year, but they do keep close tabs on volcanically active areas around the world and so far there is absolutely no sign of a supervolcano erupting anytime soon.
Image 2: In Yellowstone, the rim of a supervolcano caldera is visible in the distance. Credit: National Park Service.
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