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At Yellowstone, the North American plate has moved over 400 miles in a Southwesterly direction from the caldera’s hotspot over the past 15 million years. Similarly, in Hawaii, the Pacific plate is drifting in a Northwesterly direction with respect to its hotspot, forming a chain of islands, at a rate of about 32 mi (51 km) per million years.

The Yellowstone Caldera is a supervolcano located in Yellowstone National Park in the United States, located in the northwest corner of Wyoming.

The caldera formed during the last of three supereruptions over the past 2.1 million years, starting with the “The Huckleberry Ridge eruption”, followed by the “Mesa Falls eruption”, 1.3 million years ago and finally, the “Lava Creek eruption”, 640,000 years ago.

None of the two previous eruptions were anywhere near as violent as this latest one, which caused 240 cubic miles of Lava Creek Tuff to be spewed around the rim and pyroclastic flows rushed across the countryside at over one hundred miles per hour, vaporizing everything in their path.

Huge 1,800°F plumes of ash jetted into the stratosphere, scattered by the winds around the world, blanketing tens of thousands of square miles in volcanic dust and poisonous gases, causing the extinction of some species, especially in North America and leaving behind a gaping caldera 45 miles wide and 28 miles long.

It is only a matter of time before another supereruption will occur, leading to similar disruptions of weather to cause mass death and a potential mini-Ice Age.

Contributed by


Alexandra Bruce

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