Scientists have discovered what causes cataclysm-inducing supervolcanoes to erupt, and the answer offers little reassurance. Their eruptions are caused by magma buoyancy, which makes them less predictable and more frequent than previously thought.
A team of geologists from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETH) modeled a supervolcano – such as Yellowstone in Wyoming – using synthetic magma heated up with a high-energy X-ray to see what could create a powerful discharge. A separate international team, led by Luca Caricchi of the University of Geneva, conducted more than 1.2 million computer simulations of eruptions.
“We knew the clock was ticking but we didn’t know how fast: what would it take to trigger a super-eruption?” said Wim Malfait, the lead author of the ETH study.
“Now we know you don’t…
View original post 732 more words