Yellowstone Supervolcano similar to erupting Kilauea - KULR8.com | News, Weather & Sports in Billings, Montana

Yellowstone Supervolcano similar to erupting Kilauea

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Steam phase eruption of Castle Geyser in Yellowstone National Park, Photo Credit: Courtesy of Mila Zinkova Steam phase eruption of Castle Geyser in Yellowstone National Park, Photo Credit: Courtesy of Mila Zinkova
BILLINGS, Mont. -

The volcanic eruption of Kilauea has been a topic of discussion but some may be thinking about the Yellowstone Supervolcano.

The two volcanoes actually have some similarities.

Kilauea and the Yellowstone Supervolcano are both formed and fueled by hot spots under the crust of the Earth but that's where geologist Dr. Sarah Friedman says the similarities end.

Dr. Friedman said Kilauea has been erupting since the 1980s but the current eruption gained more attention due to the destruction of homes.

She said Kilauea and seismic activity in the area have been monitored very closely for years, but it was hard to know exactly when it would erupt because increased earthquake activity doesn't always equal an eruption.

Dr. Friedman said, "Every eruption is kind of unique even every earthquake. We see that sort of activity before just earthquakes, just seismic events, and we see it before volcanic eruptions. We also see an uptick and then nothing comes of it. So to say there's a characteristic way for something to behave...there's nothing characteristic it just is what it is."

She said the same holds true for the Yellowstone Supervolcano but there would be more warning signs and ample time to evacuate.

She said the Supervolcano hot spot is underneath the continental crust which is 10 to 30 kilometers thicker than the oceanic crust Kilauea sits on.

She said because the crust is thicker the magma in the Supervolcano cambers would heat and melt the crust to break through which could take a while and would be very noticeable.

Dr. Friedman also said the Supervolcano has had three big eruptions and 32 smaller eruptions since the last big eruption about 60,000 years ago.

She said, "If there were some sort of signal that Yellowstone would erupt soon we would experience an uptick in earthquake activity, an increase in gas emissions, and these are all things that we monitor for so if Yellowstone were to erupt it's not going to erupt without a signal."

Dr. Friedman said the concern isn't necessarily about lava flow but the explosive nature of the Supervolcano and ask dispersing across the globe which can cause global temperature drops.

She added that the life cycle of a volcano is thousands of years longer than a human's so by the time an eruption for the Supervolcano comes into play a new generation will feel the wrath and they could quite possibly have the technology to stop the eruption entirely. 

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