Chances are you know that underneath Yellowstone is a super volcano but did you know that wasn’t the only one present here in the US? There is a super volcano in California that most don’t even realize exists.
While major eruption of this Californian super volcano is not likely it does still hold over 1000 cubic kilometers (around 240 cubic miles) of semi-molten magma. This one is called the Long Valley Caldera and it is about 32 kilometers across and about 1 kilometer deep. It over 700,000 years ago shot out more than 1400 cubic kilometers of material within a week. A report recently published that was written by scientists from the United States Geological Survey (USGS), University of California, and the University of Rhode Island was able to conclude that the mid-crustal reservoir is still quite full and has the potential to erupt while it will not be in our lifetime.
Express wrote as follows in regards to the report:
The report, published by the Geological Society of America, stresses however that there is no need to start panicking, adding: “This volume and a relatively high melt fraction in no way ensures that the magma is eruptible.”
The team used cutting-edge techniques to inspect the volcano in great detail, enabling them to reach their stunning conclusions.
The Long Valley Caldera is one of the Earth’s largest calderas, measuring about 20 miles long, 11 miles wide and up to 3,000 feet (910 m) deep.
After four strong earthquakes shook the Long Valley area in 1980, USGS scientists also detected evidence of renewed volcanic unrest in the region.
They subsequently found that the central part of the caldera was slowly rising.
The USGS closely monitors this region with good reason. While we might be safe from an eruption in our lifetime the people of the future could end up much less lucky. Something so rare could really change the world in a big way, sure things like this don’t happen often but they can happen.
A fact sheet issued by the USGS states:
“Because such ground deformation and earthquakes are common precursors of volcanic eruptions, the USGS has continued to closely monitor the unrest in this region.
It is natural to wonder when and where the next volcanic eruption might occur in the Long Valley area. Geologic processes generally proceed at a slow pace, and when viewed on the scale of a human lifetime, volcanic eruptions and destructive earthquakes happen rarely.
“Nevertheless, the long history of volcanic activity in the Long Valley area indicates that future eruptions will occur.”
While this should put your mind to ease a bit it is important to note that there is a lot more to the world than we realize. Did you know this super volcano existed? I guess if you weren’t in California its presence wouldn’t have been mentioned very much if at all, right? Regardless, it is interesting to note that while in the past we assumed this volcano was more or less dormant and it is nowhere near.