Since 1872, Yellowstone National Park has amazed visitors. Drawn to the volcanic activity and the beautiful landscapes in the area, the park had more than 3 million visitors in 2010.
Now, an April study from the University of Utah reveals that the Yellowstone Supervolcano is much larger than previously reported.
Although visitors can see Yellowstone’s geysers, geothermal vents resulting from the constant volcanic activity, there is much more beneath the surface because Yellowstone is still an active volcano. The latest study shows that a plume, a mass of molten magma, extends 400 miles below the surface. Despite these recent findings, researchers do not believe another eruption is imminent.
70,000: The number of years since the last eruption at Yellowstone.
1,000-3,000: The number of earthquakes at Yellowstone every year. Due to the constant volcanic activity below the surface, the swarm of earthquakes is extremely common in the area. The 1959 earthquake with a 7.3 magnitude caused enormous damage and resulted in the deaths of 28 people.
600: The number of cubic miles of magma expelled from the Yellowstone volcano 2.1 million years ago. This was the largest eruption scientists have been able to trace.
67 and 240: The number of cubic miles of magma expelled from Yellowstone’s second and third largest eruptions, respectively. The third eruption occurred 640,000 years ago and was larger than the second eruption 1.3 million years ago.
3: The number of states most likely to be severely affected if the Yellowstone volcano erupts again. Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming would probably see the most damage. However, previous volcanic eruptions have resulted in ash being deposited as far as Missouri, and the western portion of the United States would see destruction.
130: The number of square miles that some of the previous lava flows cover in Yellowstone National Park. Scientists believe that lava flows are more likely to occur than a dramatic explosion. Rhyolite lavas, a viscous form that moved very slowly, advanced about a hundred feet a day, but eventually covered a vast area.
21: The rank of Yellowstone out of the 169 most dangerous volcanoes in the U.S.
3: The number of inches the caldera floor has risen in Yellowstone from 2004 and 2008. The bulging is caused by hot magma below the surface.
3: The number of feet of ash that some scientists have predicted could cover the United States if another Yellowstone eruption occurs. Sumatra’s Toba supervolcano eruption 74,000 years ago resulted in massive ash clouds, temperatures falling 21 degrees in some areas and 75 percent of plant species disappearing.
600,000: The number of years some scientists state is the interval between eruptions at Yellowstone. Some believe another volcanic eruption is not likely to occur for thousands of years.