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What Would Happen To The World If The Yellowstone Super Volcano Erupted Right Now?

Mac Slavo
November 14th, 2017
Comments (34)


With the looming threat of a possible eruption at the Yellowstone super volcano, some preppers have wondered exactly how to prepare for such a cataclysmic event. Here is what would happen should the super volcano erupt right now.

Yellowstone’s supervolcano is essentially a giant, lid-topped cauldron, and it’s so vast that it can only truly be seen from low-Earth orbit. Its crater is 45 miles (72 kilometers) across, and its underlying plumbing contains several tens of thousands of cubic kilometers of magmatic material. But if it were to erupt right now, we would have very little time to even know that it is happening.

IFL Science spoke to one of the country’s most respected volcanologists to get the most up-to-date low-down on the future of the world’s most famous supervolcano. Hopefully, it will give preppers and idea of what to expect in the unprecedented event that it actually explodes.

According to Yellowstone Volcano Observatory’s Scientist-In-Charge, Dr. Michael Poland, the super volcano may not have enough energy at present to produce a supereruption. “Right now, much of Yellowstone’s magma body is partially solidified, and you need a lot of magma to feed a large eruption.” The chances of a supervolcanic paroxysm are currently around one-in-730,000, which makes it less likely than a catastrophic asteroid impact.

A sudden injection of new magma from beneath the caldera, or a sudden weakening of the geological layers encasing it, as unlikely as this is, may be enough to trigger a sudden depressurization event, and the entire system would violently expunge onto the surface and up into the atmosphere. What would happen next is speculative, but it may be important to understand just how dire that could be.

Shortly before the hypothetical eruption, the ground around Yellowstone National Park would rise upwards somewhat. Hydrothermal system, including the geysers and geothermal pools, would rapidly heat to temperatures above boiling, and they’d likely become extremely acidic – more so than usual. A swarm of earthquakes would be detected making their way towards a central point, indicating magma rising rapidly through the crust. Then, the roof rock would fail and the eruption would begin. A vast column of ash and lava would shoot upward to heights of around 25 kilometers (16 miles). Sustained by both raw explosive energy and the release of heat through cooling lava blebs and bombs, it would sustain itself for days, pumping ash into jet streams that would transport it around the stratosphere. When the eruptive column or parts of the column fail, enormous pyroclastic flows would blast their way across the park.

Immediately, anyone within the park itself would perish. That’s roughly 11,000 on average (depending on the time of year). The air would heat up to 570 degrees Fahrenheit which would kill in seconds. When the pyroclastic flows and ash deposits settle and cool, they may seem harmless, but they’re not. If it rains heavily after the eruption, especially on any slopes, then these could mix with mud and turn into rapidly-moving, cement-like slurries called lahars. If you get stuck in one, there’s a good chance you’ll have a hard time making it out alive.

But the most dangerous aspect would be the effect of the fallout on the globe. If you breathe in the ash fallout, it’ll lacerate your lungs and form a glassy cement. It’s also about six times denser than water, which means plenty of architecture would collapse under its weight as it accumulates on rooftops. Poland points out that “even a few tens of centimeters of wet ash could cause weak buildings to buckle.” Roads and sewer systems would clog and break down, water supplies would be contaminated, and electrical grids would short out. Millions of homes would become uninhabitable. Those in Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana would be at the highest risk for this.

The amount of ash fallout could be up to ten feet in the areas near Yellowstone but will spread across the entire continental United States and large parts of Canada.


A fine layer of volcanic ash would make it as far as Miami, New York, and Toronto within a few days, but it would still enough to cause vehicles to break down and water to become unpotable.

The ash’s injection into the stratosphere would cause it to darken the sky and cool regional, if not planetwide temperatures. If the eruption is particularly sulfur-rich – an efficient blocker of sunlight – then temperatures would plummet several degrees, to the point where the next few years will lack a summer. “It’s likely there would be significant cooling for many years,” Poland explains. “But how long it would last, and how much cooling would occur, I can’t say. I’m not sure anyone can.”

The USGS is keen to point out that “scientists at this time do not have the predictive ability to determine specific consequences or durations of possible global impacts from such large eruptions.” Whatever happens, though, it won’t cause civilization to come crashing down. “It would not mean the end of life on Earth,” Poland tells us. “In fact, this experiment has already been run, yet few people realize it.” He points to the Toba eruption, one that occurred 74,000 years ago, and one that “was larger than anything that Yellowstone has ever produced.” Evidently, humanity survived that, and “they didn’t have the benefit of technology back then!”

Humanity will survive, especially those who are well prepared for such a disaster, but it won’t be an easy road to have to walk when the time comes. Hopefully, this quick rundown will give preppers ideas if they want to prepare for a Yellowstone eruption.

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Author: Mac Slavo
Date: November 14th, 2017
Website: www.SHTFplan.com

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  1. TEST says:

    “Would wipe out the US?”

    Socialism has already done more to wipe out the US than a thousand Yellowstones. Just ask the people of Detroit… or what is LEFT of Detroit

  2. Wilson says:

    Face it, NOBODY knows. Your SWAG is as good as mine.

    • BlackMoe says:

      Was somewhat enjoying reading the article until I scrolled down and saw that image of mooshell which gave me the shits. Thanks Mac. Wish your site was less littered with all the trashy Clintonite and Obola images.

  3. BadAmerican says:


    More pressing issues:

    house fire
    medical emergency
    job loss
    no more NFL../sarc

    I will continue to prep for the most likely.

    Attention forward, eyes in the back of my head…….BA.

  4. James says:

    Wilson right on the mark. More fear porn to distract from evil that exist in plain sight. More likely that it remains dormant for another 500,00 years. Unless nEVER a sTRAIGHT aNSWER or other criminal government entity triggers it.

    More click bait for zombies who live in fear of everything except GOD.

  5. the blame-e says:

    Mac, leave Yellowstone alone. If the historical record is any indication an eruption at Yellowstone is hardly “looming.” Come back in another 5,000 to 10,000 years. Meanwhile Mac, get a life.

  6. Either way, the preps are pretty much the same — water, food on hand, ways to procure more water, ways to grow food, or harvest food in some way, weapons to protect yourself and your family, etc.

  7. HidingInTheTrees says:

    I’m hesitant to believe the “even a few tens of centimeters of wet ash could cause weak buildings to buckle” line. I mean, we had Mt St Helens not too terribly long ago, and while Yellowstone would be much larger, St Helens had a heck of a lot of ash. I don’t recall stories of all of the small Washington towns crushed by ash. I do recall stories of ash clogging the roads, destroying car engines and otherwise making life more interesting.

    • Steve says:

      They also have the ash map wrong. They forgot about wind… LOL

      The last eruption covered everything to the south east with ash on the continent. there was no ash 100 miles north of the eruption, for instance. But Florida got covered.

      Much like Mt St Helen’s ash went south east.

  8. fozbotz says:

    Let me recap the above story. Pull your hair out scratch your eyes out and run and hide under a rock but before you do please buy some of our freeze dried schitt. Thank you

  9. betterment says:

    A North Korean nuke penetrating the upper layer would be the trigger Kim Jung Un may be alluding to in his fire and ashes strike on the USA, we should probably beef up defense in that area so it stays dormantfor 50,000 more years.
    A two pronged infrastructure strike of EMP and then attacking the Super Volcano would be utterly devastating and unrecoverable even if only partially successful..

    Just a former intell analyst’s perspective……

  10. RickE. says:

    What IF the dog had not had stopped to take a crap, would he have caught the rabbit??!IF IF IF!

  11. Jimbob 327 says:

    These things are in Gods control. When the flood of Noah came, many folk died.
    The next major event is for the earth to burn. How that will be orchestrated is unknown.
    I cannot help thinking Some details should be omitted by the media. If Ackbar had access to a powerful weapon & could somehow get it to the right area in Yellowstone, things may end poorly for him and us.

  12. Brian says:

    Enjoy every moment like it is your last. One of them will be!

  13. george says:

    I’m guessing that the Denver Broncos would have a serious lack of home game attendance .

  14. Archivist says:

    I’ve got plastic, duct tape, and air filters.

  15. Anonymous5 says:

    The only preparation you can do is to practice bending over and kissing your backside goodbye.

  16. Nailbanger says:

    So our temps here would drop 20-40 degrees,,, GOOD

    • the blame-e says:

      Good point. If Yellowstone blows that ends “global warming.” If Yellowstone blows Mac Slavo won’t be able to keep posting all these endless “An Inconvenient Super Volcano” stories.

      • TEST says:

        Faux global warming – at least the anthropogenic kind, ended in 1998, there has been ZERO warming since then. Prior to that the warming was NATURAL, due to us coming out of the LIA

  17. Oh good more doom and gloom. Is there anything you guys can be positive about? Oh what am I saying the sky has been falling since 2000 and were still here… You guys must be making a ton off of the constant state of fear you guys keep peddling. This BS is old…

  18. Old Guy says:

    I will not lose sleep over Yellowstone. What bothers me most is inflation. The buying power of the dollar is fast diminishing. Prices rise faster and the amount in the package gets smaller.

  19. watching and waiting says:


  20. Brian says:

    The worst SHTF scenario you face is that you live long enough, you will too old and demented to take care of yourself and make decisions for yourself. If you have children, they may take care of you or not. Some simply take your money and kick you to the curb or treat you badly. You can’t stop aging or death except by dying! There is a wide range among older people as to their mental abilities and their health. One thing that you should explore is the ketogenic diet which seems to be more in alignment with how our bodies are designed. Old age comes slowly but almost certainly (unless you die) but its severity can be lessened.

  21. Kathryn Jordan says:

    What this article does not say is about people on prescription medication that they take monthly. How are they to stock pile on a medication they can only get five refills every six months? The ketogenic diet is a very strict diet and needs to be monitored by a physician. I would hope that neither Yellowstone does not blow up or North Korea sends its ICBM’s to the United States. I know it is in God’s hands now.

  22. Brian says:

    The Ketogenic diet looks promising but there is too much disagreement among medical people on its possible drawbacks. Most people following it now are doing it for weight loss. Some epileptics who don’t respond to the medication follow it. There is a danger of ketoacidosis (mostly for diabetics) where you have too many ketones and too much insulin in your bloodstream at the same time. Conventional medical wisdom is being challenged. Fats aren’t necessarily bad. Carbohydrates are not necessary good. Bacteria are all bad. There is a lot more emphasis on gastrointestinal health and metabolism. on the immune system and chronic inflammation, and on the role of iron metabolism in our bodies.

  23. Old Guy says:

    Brian does have a valid point. No matter who you are or how much money you have. If you become old and bad enough health someone will become you legal guardian and warehouse you in a nursing home. If you have altizmers most of the time you will not know anything so you will not care. Eny road getting old most time’s really sucks.

  24. Horse says:

    ad blocker ?
    I see no cliton orbummer.

  25. Sam W. says:

    There are supervolcanos in the southern hemisphere too. Antarctica has one that is melting the icecap.

  26. ronna says:

    Hey! Just contact the global warming people! They have the ability to predict the weather years and years from now so they should be able to easily predict the blowup of this volcano and its effects!