Supervolcanoes Around the World - Owlcation - Education
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Supervolcanoes Around the World

Supervolcanic Activity

Steamboat geyser erupts in Yellowstone, site of a massive supervolcano.

Steamboat geyser erupts in Yellowstone, site of a massive supervolcano.

What is a Supervolcano?

A volcano which erupts and throws magma and rocky particles over an area greater than 240 cubic miles (1000 cubic kilometers) is considered a supervolcano. These massive eruptions dwarf typical volcanic eruptions. It is like comparing a small shock from static electricity to a lightning bolt: Mount Vesuvius produced 100,000 cubic yards of magma per second during its massive explosion in A.D. 79. The damage from this "ordinary" volcano was legendary. If Mount Vesuvius had been a supervolcano, it would have produced 100 million cubic yards of magma per second.

Yellowstone National Park is a famous supervolcano. The last time Yellowstone erupted, 640,000 years ago, the ash blanketed an area from California to Minnesota. If Yellowstone were to erupt again, the ash would be thick enough to collapse roofs on houses in neighboring states. The loss of life would be massive: Tens of thousands of people would die from the immediate eruption and pyroclastic (lava) flow. Respiratory difficulty caused by ash in the air would kill still more people. Supervolcanoes also affect global temperature in an immediate and profound way: when Mount Tambora blew its lid in 1815, the subsequent year was called "eighteen hundred and froze to death," or "the year without summer." This event occurred during an era dubbed the "Little Ice Age," which was a period of global cooling that extended from approximately 1350-1850. Scientists have not come to a consensus of dates with regard to the Little Ice Age, and NASA currently states the event occurred between 1550-1880, with three distinct periods of cooling. The volcanic winter created by Tambora exacerbated the cooling trend for the next year.

As supervolcanoes go, Tambora was a big. The Volcanic Explosion Index (VEI) rates volcanic activity on a scale from 0-8. Hawaii's Mount Kilauea is a 0 on this index, with a constant, gentle flow of magma. Mount Vesuvius and Mount St. Helens had a VEI of 5. Tambora had a VEI of 7, the largest volcanic explosion in the modern era.

Volcanic Explosion Index (VEI)

An example of a volcano with a VEI of 0 would be Kilauea in Hawaii. Yellowstone and Toba are examples of volcanoes with a VEI of 8.

VEIDescriptionFrequencyStratospheric Injection

0

Effusive

Constant

None

1

Gentle

Daily

None

2

Explosive

Weekly

None

3

Severe

Few months

Possible

4

Cataclysmic

>1 per year

Definite

5

Paroxysmal

> 1 per decade

Significant

6

Colossal

>1 per century

Substantial

7

Super-Colossal

>1 per thousand years

Substantial

8

Mega-Colossal

>1 per ten thousand years

Substantial

The Most Recent Supervolcano Explosion

A sleeping volcano on an island east of Java began to wake on the morning of April 5, 1815. The first eruption was loud enough to be heard as thunder by people living over 800 miles away. Tambora's first eruption was minor compared to what happened next.

On April 10, 1815, the island of Sumbawa exploded in Indonesia. The column of ejecta shot 28 miles into the air. The mountain lost 4,100 feet of height when its top literally blew off. The volcano shot 12 cubic miles of magma into the air, and an estimated 92,000 people immediately lost their lives.

As the ash circled the earth, global temperatures plummeted. Snow fell in England and Canada in June, and frost was ever-present through the summer. Snow and ash fell into European rivers, causing Typhus outbreaks. The loss of crops in Europe also led to starvation - approximately 200,000 people died of Typhus and hunger in the year 1816, as a result of Tambora's explosion.

Supervolcanoes cause global cooling: in Tambora's case, a fine layer of sulfur dioxide gas in the stratosphere reflected the heat of the sun, which caused temperatures to plummet on the earth's surface. The sulfur dioxide gas combines with water in the upper atmosphere and forms sulfuric acid: this attacks the ozone layer, causing further damage to our planet's climate control system.

Mount Tambora

Supervolcanoes in the United States

There are several supervolcano sites in the United States - all in the western half of the country. Yellowstone in Wyoming and Montana is the most famous -and potentially dangerous - since its magma pockets have been filling since the last eruption. Other sites include:

  • Long Valley Caldera, California
  • La Garita Caldera, Colorado
  • Valles Caldera, New Mexico

The Long Valley Caldera in California lies next to Mammoth Mountain, a popular ski resort. The supervolcano last exploded 760,000 years ago in an explosion so vast it caused the volcano's magma chamber to collapse. Ash covered all of the western United States. In 1980, an earthquake swarm started a new era of activity for this supervolcano. A dome-shaped area of land increased in height by 10 inches, and the area is monitored by the Volcano Hazards Program - a division of the United States Geological Survey. An escape route was created and named the "Mammoth Escape Route," though business owners complained that the road would scare away potential customers. The road was renamed the "Mammoth Scenic Loop," though its purpose is to serve as an emergency escape route if the volcano shows signs of imminent activity.

The La Garita Caldera produced one of the largest known eruptions on earth. Located in Colorado, the volcano deposited 1,200 cubic miles of magma approximately 27 million years ago. The caldera is 22 miles wide by 47 miles long. This supervolcano is considered extinct, but the evidence of its eruption created the Wheeler Geologic Monument and Fish Canyon Tuff.

The Valles Caldera in New Mexico had an explosion 50,000-60,000 years ago. As supervolcanoes go, it is on the small side. The area has hot springs and geothermal activity and is home to a healthy population of elk. Several films have been shot in the area, including The Missing starring Tommy Lee Jones (2003).

Where is the Yellowstone Volcano?

The main caldera lies under Yellowstone Lake. Geologists Girard and Stix (2012) have identified three zones in the caldera that pose the greatest likelihood of eruption. Zone 1 is along a fault line, Zone 2 is between the Norris Geyser Basin and Mammoth (a water-driven eruption could occur here), and Zone 3 is along another fault line under Yellowstone Lake.

In 2004, the ground over Yellowstone's caldera began to rise. The elevation has been increasing by as much as 2.8 inches per year, though scientists do not believe the swelling magma pocket signals an imminent eruption. The magma pocket is 6 miles below the surface, which reduces the danger considerably. The magma chambers under Yellowstone have cyclic periods of inflation and deflation, though continuous records of geological activity were not maintained until the 1970s.

The park is monitored continuously for earthquake swarms and elevation changes. Live information about earthquake activity in the park can be found here.

Geothermal Activity in Yellowstone

Shallow magma pockets are responsible for the geothermal activity seen in the park today.

Shallow magma pockets are responsible for the geothermal activity seen in the park today.

Supervolcanoes in the United States

Phlegraean Fields Volcano

Activity in the Phlegraean Fields

A supervolcano exists in Naples, Italy. The Campi Flegrei, or Phlegraean Fields, is surrounded by a dense population.

The last eruption was in 1538, in an event known as the Monte Nuovo eruption. An increase in seismic activity heralded renewed activity in the area, with over 20 earthquakes felt the day before the actual eruption.The ground over the caldera rose quickly, with elevation changes of over 22 feet reported in a single night. Magma and water were ejected into the air on September 29, and a 403 foot volcanic cone (Monte Nuovo) was created within a single week. As activity died down, the new volcanic cone provided local interest. Intrigued, people came to see the newly formed volcano - on October 6, 1538, several visitors were killed when another explosion occurred. The volcano then settled and all subsequent activity has been in the form of a fumarolic vent (the emission of steam and gasses from the earth's crust).

In late 2012, significant activity was noted in the Phlegraean Fields. Swarms of earthquakes have been noted in the area, along with a lift of approximately 2.76 inches over the past year. An increase in temperature has been noted at the fumaroles. Is the Campi Flegrei gearing up for another eruption?

It is impossible to tell, though the area is continuously monitored. The International Continental Scientific Drilling Programme will drill 2.2 miles underground to monitor activity in the area. The drilling will be done near Pompei in 2013.

Supervolcano in Italy

Asian Supervolcanoes

Several supervolcanoes exist in Asia, including:

  • Toba in Indonesia
  • Tambora in Indonesia
  • Baekdu Mountain on the border of North Korea and China
  • Aira Caldera, Japan
  • Kurile Lake, Russia
  • Karymshina, Russia

Mount Toba, located in Indonesia, is responsible for a catastrophic eruption approximately 74,000 years ago. The largest eruption in over 2 million years, the supervolcano covered India, Pakistan, and the Persian Gulf in 3-15 feet of ash. A volcanic winter followed the eruption, lasting for approximately a decade. A thousand years of global cooling followed the incident, which nearly wiped out the human race. According to the bottleneck theory, only 3,000-10,000 individuals survived the effects of Mount Toba - the theory is disputed, however, and the reason for the remarkable lack of diversity in the human genome may lie in other causes.

Mount Tambora, previously discussed, delivered a VEI 7 eruption in 1815 and caused a volcanic winter in the following year.

Baekdu Mountain, on the border of China and North Korea, also experienced a VEI 7 eruption in the year 969. The caldera is now filled with Heaven Lake, and the central section of the mountain has been increasing in elevation due to a filling magma chamber.

The Aira caldera in Kyushu, Japan was created 22,000 years ago in a massive eruption. Japan's most active volcano, Sakurajima, is fueled by the magma chamber of the Aira caldera.

Kurile Lake is an ancient supervolcano in Russia, and exploded in 6440 B.C. with a VEI of 7. The volcano has been dormant ever since. The most active volcano in Kamchatka Penninsula, Karymsky is situated near Kurile Lake. The near-constant eruptions from the volcano have turned the large fresh-water crater lake into one of the world's largest acidic lakes.

Supervolcanoes in Asia

Pastos Grandes Crater

Laguna Pastos Grandes, in the center of an ancient supervolcano in Bolivia.

Laguna Pastos Grandes, in the center of an ancient supervolcano in Bolivia.

South American Supervolcanoes

The Pacana Caldera in Chile was formed approximately 4 million years ago in a VEI 8 explosion. The caldera is 43 miles wide by 22 miles long, and a few warm springs are in the area. The area is sparsely populated.

One of the best exposed calderas in the world, Cerro Galan is located in Argentina. Like the Pacana Caldera in Chile, the supervolcano is ancient and was formed 2.2 million years ago. The caldera houses the remnants of a crater lake, though the water is now restricted to the western edge of the caldera and is very salty.

In Bolivia, the Pastos Grandes Caldera was responsible for a VEI 7 eruption approximately 2.9 million years ago. A crater lake named Laguna Pastos Grandes exists in the caldera.

Supervolcanoes in South America

Supervolcano in Canada

Canadian Supervolcano

The Bennett Lake supervolcano complex is located in British Columbia. The site is ancient and erupted 50 million years ago: the supervolcano is extinct and exists in the Coast Mountains. The caldera is located under the western portion of Bennett Lake.

Taupo: New Zealand Supervolcano

Lake Taupo sits in the crater of a supervolcano on New Zealand's north island.

Lake Taupo sits in the crater of a supervolcano on New Zealand's north island.

Supervolcanoes in New Zealand

Lake Taupo is one of the world's great supervolcanoes. The most recent eruption was 26,000 years ago, when a VEI 8 eruption ejected 727 cubic miles of volcanic material into the air. THe event is known as the Oruanui eruption. Taupo is currently dormant, and tends to have an eruption once every thousand years or so.

Macauley Island is located halfway between New Zealand and Tonga, and is an ancient (submerged) supervolcano. The last eruption was in approximately 4360 BC.

New Zealand Supervolcanoes

New Supervolcanoes

The earth is a dynamic planet, and new volcanoes (and supervolcanoes) are constantly forming. Two continent-sized piles of rock are moving toward each other under the Pacific Ocean. The colliding masses will produce a "hot spot" the size of Florida. The molten material is 1,800 miles under the earth's surface, and the collision will occur near Samoa. Fortunately, the extinction-level event won't occur for another 100 million years or so, as it takes a very long time for the masses of magma to move and create enough force for an eruption.

Questions & Answers

Question: Do you think there may be other super volcanoes on earth that we haven’t discovered yet, such as ones that might lay beneath the ocean?

Answer: There are likely many volcanoes (and possibly supervolcanoes) that exist under the ocean. There have been videos of submarine volcanoes suddenly forming new masses of land in unexpected locations. Our earth is a dynamic and volatile planet!

Question: Is Mount Tambora a supervolcano?

Answer: Mount Tambora is considered a supervolcano. An eruption in 1815 created a caldera that is 4 miles in diameter. Tambora is a stratovolcano, also known as a composite volcano. This type of volcano is formed from layers of ash and lava that generate a steep-sided conical structure. Tambora was likely over 13,000 feet in elevation prior to the 1815 eruption, which was the largest in recorded history.

Question: What is the biggest volcano in the universe?

Answer: While much of our vast universe is still unexplored and unknown, the biggest volcano in our solar system is Olympus Mons. This shield volcano on Mars is 26 km (16 miles) high or three times the height of Mount Everest. Mars lacks tectonic plates that would shift over time, so the volcano has remained in one location and continued to spew out lava over an extended period. The Mars Express spacecraft took photos that indicate some flows are between 2 million to 115 million years old.

Question: How do supervolcanoes form?

Answer: When magma pools below the earth's crust and is unable to break through the mantle, the pool of magma will continue to grow. This may continue until the pool of magma is sufficiently large to create a supervolcano. When the increase of pressure is enough to cause the magma to break through the mantle, an eruption will occur.

Comments

Jude on March 06, 2020:

How do volcanoes form.

Leah Lefler (author) from Western New York on September 28, 2018:

I love your reference to the Hunger Games, Doug! The fact that we will have plenty of warning before any volcanic eruption (whether from a supervolcano or a standard eruption) is a huge advantage. With modern technology, we would certainly have plenty of time to evacuate those involved. The climate change caused by a large-scale eruption would likely be more damaging than the initial eruption (if everyone was evacuated).

Eruptions of any level often stymie plane travel, so there are inconveniences associated with "typical" eruptions. The air quality and impact to transportation of goods and services would likely be severely impacted by a supervolcano eruption.

I am very, very grateful that the odds are in our favor and that a large-scale eruption is not likely in the foreseeable future.

Doug Hall from Rochester, NY on September 23, 2018:

Fortunately, we really don't have to worry about such an event happening, even with Yellowstone. I did some digging around on the "What if Yellowstone erupted" and came to a consensus on a few things;

Yellowstone, according to some sites, may not even erupt again. If it does, it may not even be on the catastrophic scale in terms of a supervolcano erupting but could be on the scale of a regular volcano.

The chances of Yellowstone erupting is about 1 in 700,000. One site said about a 1 in 10,000 chance but a few of them have stated the 1 in 700,000 chance of probability. Those odds mean that we have a better chance of coming in contact with a life destroying asteroid than Yellowstone erupting.

Because Yellowstone is constantly monitored, people would know years, maybe even decades in advance of a potential eruption.

It is very common for tremors or slight earthquakes to be around any volcanic area. It would have to be a significant jump or increase that would worry the people studying Yellowstone. And earthquakes do not cause eruptions, initially. A volcano has to be ready to erupt for an earthquake to trigger a volcanic explosion.

Because of the cooling of the crust and heat from the magma, it is also very common for ground to elevate and decrease periodically.

Overall, we really have very little to worry about. If it does erupt again, it wouldn't be for centuries or even a thousand years. I'm not saying everything is definitive, because like a lot of things in life, there isn't a 100% probability it would work in our favor. But if we go by statistics and probability, the odds are in our favor (yes, I did just reference "Hunger Games").

Leah Lefler (author) from Western New York on September 23, 2018:

Every time there are earthquake clusters or a slight elevation rise in Yellowstone Lake, I certainly think about the impact a super-eruption would have on the North American continent, Doug! It would be utterly catastrophic to the entire western region of the USA and the global climate implications are quite frightening.

Doug on September 22, 2018:

I've always been fascinated by the various types of phenomena that our planet has. Whether it would be ball lightning (or just regular lightning), to tornadoes, to (of course the topic at hand), volcanoes and supervolcanoes. Mount St. Helens was catastrophic, no doubt about it. But to think that would be a fourth grade science project compared to supervolcano erupting is mind boggling. Not also would it affect hundreds (if not thousands) of miles, but the long term effect would be the global impact on how much the earth would be cooled. I guess the best way to put it, in terms of the effect of a supervolcano would be, "the finger of God".

Leah Lefler (author) from Western New York on August 21, 2018:

Those volcanoes were not supervolcanoes, but any volcano is extremely destructive! I would not want to be near any volcano during an eruption. The loss of life is catastrophic and the damage in populated areas is horrific, even when smaller volcanoes erupt.

Nordlys on August 21, 2018:

As usual, Vesuvius and St.Helens are slighly understimated

Ganderzon on June 04, 2018:

You might also add a possible new Supervolcano in Bolivia named Uturunku.

Search for "New Supervolcano Uturuncu" on google and it should be the top link saying "Uturuncu Volcano (Bolivia): Signs of a Supervolcano Awakening..."

Leah Lefler (author) from Western New York on August 22, 2017:

The existence of supervolcanoes in populated areas is a little scary to me, Prokop - there are quite a few! Fortunately geological survey groups keep close tabs on seismic activity and we are able to monitor all of them!

Prokop on August 22, 2017:

Thank you Leah for this comprehensive review! I did not know that there is quite a list of the supervolcanoes...

Patricia Jones on May 01, 2017:

NICE WORK! What a concise and informative article! People need to know about Volcanoes, in general ,because our planet "Earth" is a living breathing system! The more we can learn about it, the better off we'll be! THANK YOU FOR YOUR HARD WORK! It's much appreciated!

Leah Lefler (author) from Western New York on March 06, 2017:

I agree, Guido! It is absolutely fascinating! I agree with you - the Yellowstone eruption cycle would be better evaluated from the time of its formation. It is absolutely impressive and I love the subject matter. I also agree with you regarding Krakatoa - the recent eruptions are not in the supervolcano category, but it was probably a much larger volcano in the ancient past. It is amazing how much damage a "regular" volcano can do - I can't imagine the force and effects of a supervolcano erupting in the modern world.

Guido Heuts on October 17, 2016:

Great stuff Leah,

But what i don't get is, that everyone talking about Yellowstone is only talking about 3 eruptions; 1. The Huckleberry Ridge eruption (2.1 million years ago. 2500 cubic kilometers ejected material) 2. The Mesa Falls eruption (1.3 million years ago, 280 cubic kilometers ejected material) 3. The Lava Creek eruption (640,000 years ago, 1100 cubic kilometers ejected material) It is a hotspot volcano so wouldn't it be more appropriate to treat it as such, and count all the eruptions from the time it formed, 16 million years ago at the Nevada - Oregon border. This way you get a more detailed picture of the whole thing, there are about 140 eruptions found as large or larger then the three named above, as over time the hotspot moved via the Snake River plain to it's present location underneath Yellowstone.

Also about you saying Krakatoa is not a super volcano (True, the 1883 eruption only erupted 17 - 21 cubic kilometers of material). I dare to debate you on that, as there are signs of a much larger Krakatoa eruption in the year 535 AD which supposedly split the Indonesian islands of Java and Sumatra apart and so thus creating the Sunda Strait. There are signs of a 15 x 15 mile wide caldera found in the strait. Gosh LOL I could go on with this for hours as it is such fascinating stuff to talk about and read up on. :)

Cyberdurden on April 16, 2016:

If you look to the right a few hundred yards, there is a horseshoe-shaped building. That was the American high school where I graduated in 1987. Tremors all the time.

Kristen Howe from Northeast Ohio on April 23, 2015:

Sounds like a fun trip, Leah.

Leah Lefler (author) from Western New York on April 22, 2015:

We are planning a trip to Yellowstone with our children - it is such a fascinating place! I love volcanology, too, Kristen!

Kristen Howe from Northeast Ohio on April 10, 2015:

I'm always amazed and fascinated with volcanology. I love any kind or form of geology. This was a great hub with interesting tidbits on supervolcanoes. Voted up for interesting!

Leah Lefler (author) from Western New York on June 27, 2013:

Yes, I stated in the article that Tambora was a VEI 7. It is the largest recorded volcanic explosion in recorded history. Modern eyes have never witnessed a VEI 8 explosion (thank goodness)! The term "supervolcano" must be separated from the term "super eruption" - a "super eruption" is a VEI 8 explosion. There is no uniform definition for "supervolcano," which is a different entity than a super eruption. The term "megacaldera" is also used for some supervolcanoes.

Anon on June 10, 2013:

Tambora was only VEI 7. There hasn't been a full supervolcanic eruption in recorded history.

Leah Lefler (author) from Western New York on April 13, 2013:

Malaysia is certainly a geologically active part of the world, greatstuff! I hope Toba stays dormant for a VERY long time - the tsunami was absolutely devastating and I can't imagine witnessing the devastation from that event. A supervolcanic eruption from Toba would be a global disaster - I hope it remains inactive for the foreseeable future!

Mazlan from Malaysia on April 12, 2013:

It is frightening to read that Toba is a super volcano as it is pretty close to our country! The Indian Ocean earthquake that resulted in a devastating tsunami on 26 Dec 2004 was not far from Toba. This tsunami affected a small part of Northern Malaysia and it is scary to think of the super volcanic effect of Toba on our country. Hope it will stay 'dormant' for a long time! A belated Congrats on your HOTD.

Leah Lefler (author) from Western New York on April 07, 2013:

Volcanoes continuously make new land mass, pinto2011 - so they are constructive as well as destructive! We wouldn't have Hawaii without volcanic activity, and I am VERY grateful for Hawaii. I do find them fascinating!

Subhas from New Delhi, India on April 06, 2013:

Hi leahlefler! Volcano always fascinates me as it is volcano and its continuous activities which makes life possible in this earth. I sometimes takes its as the formatting tool of earth. Your hub is very interesting and informative.

Leah Lefler (author) from Western New York on April 06, 2013:

Thank you, Marcy - I find volcanoes fascinating, along with earth's other phenomena. I certainly hope all of our supervolcanoes stay dormant for as long as possible, as the consequences of an eruption would be devastating locally and would have global consequences!

Leah Lefler (author) from Western New York on April 06, 2013:

It is certain that a supervolcano will erupt again - though no one has a timetable on when that will occur. The Campi Flegrei in Italy has been particularly active in recent years. Thankfully we have monitoring equipment that will (hopefully) give people enough time to evacuate if an eruption is imminent, LeTotten!

Leah Lefler (author) from Western New York on April 06, 2013:

Mt. Etna is called a "decade" volcano, baja2013.. it is one of the world's most active. While it has a low VEI (ranging from 1-3 on the scale, depending on the eruption), it is still destructive and those living near its flow area should pay attention to warnings and evacuate if necessary. Etna is not a supervolcano, but any volcano can be deadly and should be treated with caution.

Leah Lefler (author) from Western New York on April 06, 2013:

Yellowstone is frequently featured on television specials as it is a massive supervolcano and probably the most well-known of the group. The Campi Flegrei is another area to keep an eye on, as it erupts on a fairly regular basis and is surrounded by a very populated area! Thanks for the comment, moonlake!

Leah Lefler (author) from Western New York on April 06, 2013:

Kilauea shows that even a "mild" eruption can cause damage to property and even loss of life, Rusticliving. I am sorry for your family's loss of property, and hopeful that no one was hurt when the magma flowed across their property!

Leah Lefler (author) from Western New York on April 06, 2013:

Yellowstone is "due" for an explosion, though the time tables on these events vary widely, whonunuwho. Hopefully it will hold out for another few hundred thousand years! There has been uplift under Yellowstone Lake in recent years, so scientists keep a close eye on it.

Leah Lefler (author) from Western New York on April 06, 2013:

There are a lot of supervolcanoes, MelonieGilchrist! Fortunately the South American volcanoes are largely extinct, but there are plenty of active ones along the Pacific Rim. New ones are always forming, too!

Leah Lefler (author) from Western New York on April 06, 2013:

This is the one time I am glad to be on the East Coast, TravelinJack! We are not in Yellowstone's immediate impact zone. If Yellowstone blows in a cataclysmic eruption, however, the entire globe will be affected with temperature changes and ash in the atmosphere.

Leah Lefler (author) from Western New York on April 06, 2013:

I love maps, madscientist12...it is interesting to see how many of the supervolcanoes are clustered along the Pacific Rim.

Leah Lefler (author) from Western New York on April 06, 2013:

Volcanic eruptions can cause major catastrophes, even when the volcano is not a supervolcano. Fortunately, modern geological services monitor seismic activity so we can have an early warning system, moronkee! Yellowstone has a website with live earthquake data - it is interesting to see how many small earthquakes are recorded there each day.

Marcy Goodfleisch from Planet Earth on April 06, 2013:

What an outstanding hub! So well researched and documented, and a very compelling topic. Volcanoes and other disasters are interesting to me, so I was glued to your information here. Very deserving of the HOTD - congratulations! Voted way up!

LeAnna Totten on April 06, 2013:

Really interesting hub! I am fascinated by these volcanoes and wonder when they will erupt again. It seems that eventually they will because that is what they do, right?

Bajazid from Sarajevo, Bosnia on April 06, 2013:

Really HOTH! Love vulcanoes and stories about it. I would like to ask about Etna, Italy. It's active and what is general forecast for it? I am just few hundreds kilometers from there (Sarajevo) so should I be worrie about it?

moonlake from America on April 06, 2013:

Congratulation on HOTD. I'm always fascinated by super volcanoes. Enjoyed your hub. Voted up. I saw a TV show on the Yellowstone super volcano.

Liz Rayen from California on April 06, 2013:

Wonderfully written hub Leah. I had no idea that the Yellowstone supervolcano could bring on such a massive path of destruction if erupted as before. Coming from Hawaii, I am very familiar with Kilauea as my family lost valuable land because of it's constant flow. Thank you for a great hub. Voted Up+UABI and shared----Lisa

whonunuwho from United States on April 06, 2013:

A very informative hub. I still worry about Yellow Stone's volcano and the cycle, I believe is about to run its course again for another eruption.

MelonieGilchrist on April 06, 2013:

This is a lot of great information. I didn't realize that there were so many super volcano's in the world. Excellent pictures! Very well written.

Jack Baumann from St. Louis, Missouri on April 06, 2013:

I was hearing that if Yellowstone went up it would take out something like a quarter of the US! Great hub, voted up!

Dani Alicia from Florence, SC on April 06, 2013:

Great hub! I didn't know very much about volcanoes and this article really gave me some interesting information. It's also well written and I love the maps.

Moronke Oluwatoyin on April 06, 2013:

When I read this hub, it reminded me of Pompeii. Thanks for writing it and we all have to be alert and watchful.

Leah Lefler (author) from Western New York on April 06, 2013:

Sid, I desperately want to visit Kilauea - visiting the Big Island of Hawaii is one of my dreams, too. We have been to Kauai and to Oahu, but never to the main island. Hawaii is so absolutely gorgeous - I really hope you make it someday! Thanks for the congrats!

Leah Lefler (author) from Western New York on April 06, 2013:

I love geology, starstream. We often go on fossil hunts and enjoy searching for rocks in our local area. Jade is so beautiful - it is a metamorphic rock. There are actually two forms - we have cute little jade carvings from china (nephrite form) for each of our two sons - one is a pig and one is a rooster, since these are the Chinese years our boys were born.

Leah Lefler (author) from Western New York on April 06, 2013:

I love volcanoes, too, Kathryn. We used to camp in Arizona and visit the Sunset Crater park near Flagstaff - I loved climbing over the lava fields and exploring the ice caves in the area. While it isn't a supervolcano, the lava fields were fascinating and sparked an interest in geology.

Sid Kemp from Boca Raton, Florida (near Miami and Palm Beach) on April 06, 2013:

Leah - congrats on Hub of the Day! I loved this hub when I first read it. And now it has exploded and become a super-hub!

I understand your desire to avoid exploding volcanoes, but, actually, a visit to an active volcano on Hawaii is one of my biggest life dreams.

Dreamer at heart from Northern California on April 06, 2013:

I enjoy geology and find your article very informative. How is jade formed? I have an appreciation for many of these gemstones and enjoy hearing about their history.

Kathryn from Windsor, Connecticut on April 06, 2013:

I find volcanoes to be very fascinating, and have watched documentaries on Super Volcanoes before. This is a very informative and well-laid out article, and I enjoy the photos. Thank you for sharing this with us, and congrats on HOTD!

Leah Lefler (author) from Western New York on April 06, 2013:

I am always fascinated by the earth's geological processes, adity5. I really hope to take our family to Yellowstone one day soon - it is one of the most amazing places I have ever been to.

Leah Lefler (author) from Western New York on April 06, 2013:

Thanks, CZCZCZ! We used to ski frequently at Mammoth Mountain in California, and I never realized it was part of the Long Valley Caldera until we took an all-mountain tour and the guide took us by a geyser that exists on the mountain. I certainly hope all of the supervolcanoes in our world stay dormant for a long time to come!

adity5 from Incredible India !! on April 06, 2013:

Very informative post..loved reading it from beginning to end :)

Thank you for sharing !!

CZCZCZ from Oregon on April 06, 2013:

What an awesome hub. This was interesting to read through and the videos are great. These super volcanoes are just wild and so massive, just incredible.

Leah Lefler (author) from Western New York on March 22, 2013:

Krakatoa was big - but not a supervolcano. It had a VEI of 6, which is pretty massive. It caused tsunamis that wiped out a lot of lives - while not classed with the supervolcanoes, it was a very big eruption with devastating consequences. Honestly, Sid, I wouldn't want to be around any volcano when it blew!

Sid Kemp from Boca Raton, Florida (near Miami and Palm Beach) on March 22, 2013:

Fascinating. I've heard of Krakatoa as a huge volcanic eruption. Was it a supervolcano, or, like Pompeii, a big ordinary volcano with an attitude and a reputation?

Leah Lefler (author) from Western New York on March 13, 2013:

Our earth is a very dynamic place, Teaches! Don't worry about the new massive supervolcano, though - 100 million years is a LONG way into the future. Yellowstone or Campi Flegrei is a more immediate threat.. though these may never blow in our lifetime. I hope they don't blow in our lifetime, anyway!

Dianna Mendez on March 13, 2013:

Leah, some of this information is a big scary. I enjoyed the read and learned some really interesting facts. New Volanoes? Wow! Very well done. Voted up and across.

Leah Lefler (author) from Western New York on March 09, 2013:

I'm glad you found it interesting, Eddy!

Leah Lefler (author) from Western New York on March 09, 2013:

There is an impressive number of supervolcanoes on earth, AliciaC - thank goodness many of them (like the one in Canada) are extinct. Thanks for the comment!

Eiddwen from Wales on March 09, 2013:

So interesting and thank you for sharing.

Eddy,

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on March 08, 2013:

Thank you for all the interesting facts and the great details, Leah! This hub is a great source of information about supervolcanoes.

Leah Lefler (author) from Western New York on March 08, 2013:

Thanks, Rose! I am sort of glad we live on the opposite side of the country as Yellowstone, though it would have an effect on the entire globe if it blew.

Rose Clearfield from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on March 08, 2013:

Great topic! I learned so much from this article. Very well done resource.

Leah Lefler (author) from Western New York on March 08, 2013:

Thank you, LillyGrillzit. It is a fascinating subject - the Phlegraean Fields in Italy have been experiencing a lot of activity lately - hopefully the area will settle down, as Naples is heavily populated!

Lori J Latimer from Central Oregon on March 08, 2013:

Awesome article, well researched, and on a subject I love. Thank you for the hard work.

Leah Lefler (author) from Western New York on March 07, 2013:

That is a very good point, Larry. I'll have to adjust the article to state that the Tambura volcano happened to explode during the 1350-1850 period of time when several cold snaps occurred. I re-read the paragraph and it sounds like the 1815-1816 Tambora event was the LIE, and it was only a minor event in a longer period of global cooling.

Some of the volcanoes on the maps are typical composite volcanoes or cinder domes that exist on a larger caldera. The Aira caldera in Japan has several smaller, active volcanoes in the immediate area. Most of the eruptions are small, but when the entire caldera blows, you get a supervolcanic eruption.

As a side note, there is a great deal of debate over the Toba event and genetic bottlenecking. Some state the volcanic winter caused a massive loss of life and the survival of only 3,000-10,000 humans, but others disagree and believe the lack of genetic diversity is due to other causes. There is a great deal of research to be done in this area!

Larry Fields from Northern California on March 07, 2013:

Hi leah,

Very well written! Great pictures. And the maps were a nice touch. I didn't know that there were so many supervolcanoes.

I do have one small quibble. Most science buffs refer to the much longer cold snap that ended around 1850 or so as the Little Ice Age. (The post-Tambora volcanic Winter was a double whammy.)

A lot of people don't know about the longer LIA, because the Warmies like to pretend that it never happened (and that the Medieval Warm Period never happened), in order to make the ho-hum warming from 1979 to 1998 seem more important than it really was. *steps down from soapbox*

Voted up and interesting.