Scientists now believe Yellowstone's volcano could erupt much sooner. And it has the power to wipe out life on earth, according to aNational Geographic report. Scientists previously thought that the composition change needed to trigger those magma flows took several centuries or even millennium. Meaning, the conditions that lead to supereruptions could happen within a human lifetime, according to the New York Times. Until now, the magazine reported, geologists had thought it would take centuries for the supervolcano to make the transition. "We expected that there might be processes happening over thousands of years preceding the eruption", said Christy Till, a geologist at Arizona State. The explosion could also be 2,000 times the size of 1980's eruption of Mount St. Helens, which killed 57 people. A study conducted in 2011 found that the region above the magma reservoir in Yellowstone has bulged up by 10 inches in seven years.
While there will be devastating consequences if the supervolcano were to erupt, researchers claim there is no reason to worry yet. According to National Geographic, NASA plans to drill into the magma chamber to cool down the volcano.
"It's an extraordinary uplift, because it covers such a large area and the rates are so high", the University of Utah's Bob Smith, an expert in Yellowstone volcanism, told the magazine at the time.
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In June, the Yellowstone supervolcano was hit with more than 400 earthquakes in one week, though researchers cautioned it was nothing nothing to be alarmed about.
They usually have highly infrequent and intense explosive blasts that measure magnitude eight on the Volcano Explosivity Index (erupting more than 1,000 cubic kilometres).
Yellowstone may be best known for its geysers like Old Faithful, but it's also famous for the supervolcano that lies just beneath the surface.
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