Have you wondered when the next volcanic super-eruption could take place? This event could jeopardize the existence of our planet and wipe out civilization. Scientists published a study which took a look at the average time between super-eruptions that have put our planet at risk. Their research revealed that those eruptions of catastrophic magnitude take place more often than previous scientific research predicted.
The study has been published in the journal Earth and Planetary Science Letters and it puts the schedule for the next volcanic super-eruption at roughly 17,000 years since the last one. However, those eruptions can still occur as quickly as 5,200 years or even 48,000 years after the last one occurred.
“Volcanoes pose a larger risk to human civilization than previously thought,” the study suggests.
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The University of Bristol wrote in a statement that according to the geological evidence, the last two volcanic super-eruptions occurred between 20,000 and 30,000 years ago.
“On balance, we have been slightly lucky not to experience any super-eruptions since then,” researcher Jonathan Rougier said in the statement. “But it is important to appreciate that the absence of super-eruptions in the last 20,000 years does not imply that one is overdue. Nature is not that regular.”
What makes a volcanic eruption a super-eruption?
Basically, a super-eruption is when the volcano spews out more than 1,000 gigatons of material that goes into the air and then hits the planet’s surface, which equals to 2.2 quadrillion pounds of ash, gas, and rock.
It’s “enough to blanket an entire continent with volcanic ash, and change global weather patterns for decades,” according to the University of Bristol article. “One recent assessment described them as capable of returning humanity to a pre-civilization state.”
Volcanic eruptions can kill people in many ways. One of them includes ejecting projectiles, but also it can cause tsunamis to occur. The most common cause of death from a volcano though is when people are surrounded by dark clouds of rock, ash, and hot gases, which are called pyroclastic flows. They can move faster than people can run or drive to flee, sometimes reaching speeds of up to 430 mph.