Skip to comments.6 volcanoes that could shut down the world
Posted on 04/27/2010 5:28:36 PM PDT by Rebelbase
Iceland's Eyjafjallajokull wreaked havoc on European air travel, but it could have been worse. Much, much, much worse
The eruption of Iceland's Eyjafjallajokull caused billions of dollars in economic damage, and left millions of travelers stranded. But on the Volcanic Explosivity Index volcanologists’ tool for rating the severity of an eruption the event rated only a two out of a possible eight. More severe eruptions cause “death and destruction” on a planetary basis, points out Simon Winchester in The Guardian. “They can darken skies and cause devastating changes in the weather. They can and do bring about the abrupt end to the existence of entire populations of animals and people” not to mention economic damages that could run into the trillions. Here are six volcanoes worth fearing:
1. KATLA (Iceland)
Last erupted: 1918
Effects of a major eruption: If Katla goes off, its eruption will be 10 times stronger than Eyjafjallajokull's. Katla’s larger ash plume would shoot higher in the air and spread over larger areas of Europe for a longer period, with much more devastating effects on air travel and economic trade. An eruption could tip Europe's economy perhaps even the world's back into severe recession or a depression.
Likelihood: Fairly high. The two volcanoes, only 12 miles apart, tend to erupt in tandem, and Katla is slightly overdue in its 80-year cycle.
2. CUMBRE VIEJA (La Palma, Canary Islands)
Last erupted: 1971
Effects of a major eruption: In 2001, U.S. and British scientists warned that a major eruption of Cumbre Vieja could cause the enire western flank of the volcano to fall into the sea, creating a “mega-tsunami” in the Atlantic. Traveling at 500 miles per hour, it would wipe out Florida, coastal Brazil, and parts of Europe with waves up to 160-feet high.
Likelihood: The scientists say the “year to year probability” of a major eruption is low, but preparations should be taken anyway given the potentially cataclysmic damages.
3. MT. VESUVIUS (Italy)
Last erupted: 1944
Effects of major eruption: Famous for wiping out Pompeii and Herculaneum in 79 A.D., Vesuvius would do much greater damage today. About 3 million people live near the volcano, 600,000 of them in the “red zone.” An eruption would kill at least 8,000 people and cause more than $24 billion worth of damage, according to Willis Research Network, which just named Vesuvius the most dangerous volcano in Europe. The ash would change weather patterns in Europe and leave the Naples area a “lifeless desert.”
Likelihood: Scientists say Vesuvius is overdue for an explosion.
4. POPOCATÉPETL (Mexico)
Last erupted: 2000
Effects of a major eruption: The third-tallest active volcano in the Northern Hemisphere, Popocatépetl is only 40 miles west of Mexico City and its 18 million inhabitants, and 30 miles east of Puebla, a city of two million. A large eruption could send deadly mudslides into the populous valleys below, creating “catastrophic” loss of life.
Likelihood: After an 80-year dormant period, Popocatépetl is showing signs of activity.
5. MT. TAMBORA (Sumbawa, Indonesia)
Last erupted: 1967
Effects of a major eruption: Tambora erupted in spectacular fashion in 1815 and changed weather patterns around the globe, causing “frosts in Italy in June and snows in Virginia in July, and the failure of crops in immense swaths across Europe and the America.” The blow-up killed more than 71,000 people directly, and many more through famine and sickness.
Likelihood: Tambora is still active and, given its history and Indonesia's 222 million inhabitants, closely monitored.
6. YELLOWSTONE “SUPERVOLCANO” (U.S.)
Last erupted: 640,000 years ago
Effects of a major eruption: When the Yellowstone Caldera, or “supervolcano,” in Yellowstone National erupts again, it will render a huge swath of North America, from Vancouver to Oklahoma City, uninhabitable. It would have incalculable human and economic consequences. The last eruption of similar magnitude 73,000 years ago in Sumatra plunged the entire planet into a decade-long volcanic winter and nearly wiped out the human race.
Likelihood: Geologists see signs that it could be preparing for another major blowout soon, although “soon” could mean thousands of years.
Under Yellowstone, Magma Pocket 20% Larger Than Thought
"The finding, based on the most detailed model yet of the region's geologic plumbing, suggests that Yellowstone's magma chamber contains even more fuel for a future "supereruption" than anyone had suspected.
The model shows that a 45-mile-wide (72-kilometer-wide) plume of hot, molten rock rises to feed the supervolcano from at least 410 miles (660 kilometers) beneath Earth's surface.
The deepest part of the plume actually sits beneath the town of Wisdom, Montana, about 150 miles (241 kilometers) from Yellowstone National Park."
7 if you count the one located at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. in the D.C.
Don’t forget: Mt. Shasta, Mt. Hood, Mt. St. Helens, and Mt. Ranier.
Tambora likes Katla.
That’s not a volcano.
That’s a bad case of hell’s diarrhea.
I would prefer that Katla any day.
That model of the Yellowstone plume looks like a malignant colon.
Is there a hockey stick diagram somewhere in that map?
DANGER!!!! WILL ROBINSON!!!! DANGER!!!!
I think I'd rather be stuck bywith the volcano.
HEY! I can see Yellowstone out my back door! OMG! I'm gonna DIE!!
SAVE ME LITTLE KATLA!!!
What about Krakatoa?
Will Krakatoa rock the world again? Last time, it killed thousands and changed the weather for five years, now it could be even deadlier...
I hope she doesn’t get a lawyer and ve-SUE-vi-US...
Katla really is a potentially serious unavoidable problem in the near future. It had followed eyjafjallajokull in all 3 of eyjafjallajokull’s eruptions in recorded history. Some of its eruptions have put an awful lot of stuff in the atmosphere. Anything that decrease crop yields worldwide is ‘bad, (as in catastrophism-level bad)’ not to mention the more immediate impact on the european economy.
The closer the volcano to the equator, the more significant the impact on the planet.
The upper level winds will spread the plume much further and wider than a volcano nearer one of the poles like the one in Iceland.
Location counts for an awful lot.
Swaybacked, no less.
Looks more like Mt. Doom, however.
By how much did it follow?
from what I have been able to gather (and this is by what calendar dates I have been able to find on the 3 historic eruptions), a couple of years max maybe. Perhaps someone has more detailed info, I am interested as well.
What references I have been able to find imply that once eyjafjallajokull quits erupting, katla would then go.
Kind of like a relief valve.
Volcanoes of Iceland:
|Volcano type||Subglacial shield volcano|
|Location||South Iceland, 63.63°N / 19.05°W|
|Summit elevation||1512 m (4,961 ft)|
920 AD, 950 AD (?), 1150, 1177, 1245, 1262, 1311, 1357, 1416, 1440, 1450, 1500, 1580, 1612, 1625, 1660-61, 1721, 1755-56, 1823, 1860, 1918, 1955(?), 1999(?), 1918
|Typical eruption style||
explosive basaltic and dacitic eruptions, voluminous lava flows.
|Location||South Iceland, 63.63°N / 19.62°W|
|Summit elevation||1666 m (5,466 ft)|
|Last eruptions||1821-23, 20 March 2010 - ongoing|
|Typical eruption style||effusive (Hawaiian-style lava fountains and lava flows), mildly explosive due to ice-water-lava interaction.||
World Distribution of Mid-Oceanic Ridges; USGS
The Mid-Atlantic Ridge in Iceland
The ridge was central in the
breakup of Pangaea that began
some 180 million years ago.
SOURCE: Mid-Atlantic Ridge:
FWIW, we were in Pompii on the flanks of Mt. Vesuvius yesterday.
Beautiful but our knowledge made it menacing. Fantastic trip.
Is this your human sacrifice to appease the volcano gods?
Thanks for the pings. Pretty interesting stuff.