What Would Happen If The Yellowstone Super Volcano Erupted?
I fell into a deep dive of an internet hole of research today, friends. Growing up in Wyoming, the threat of the Supervolcano lurking under Yellowstone hid in the corners of our consciousness and made the occasional appearance as the nihilistic punchline to a joke. "Does it really matter," we'd say. "After all, the Yellowstone Volcano could explode tomorrow."
Personally, it never frightened me, because in some form I thought being closer to the epicenter of the inevitable explosion would be preferable. After all, I'd be dead before I even knew it exploded, right? Living a mere 80 miles from Yellowstone back in the day, and knowing a pyroclastic flow from a cataclysmic volcano eruption could travel as fast as 400 miles in a minute, I'd be blissfully unaware of what was happening, and I wouldn't be caught in the decade-long winter that would follow the eruption.
Of course, I had to open that can of worms and research it further and it appears that it wouldn't be nearly as simple as that. Especially since the scientific measurement going on around Yellowstone is exponentially more advanced than even the equipment being used when Mt. St. Helens erupted in 1980.
A youtube channel I love called Alternate History Hub tackled this question, "What would happen if the Yellowstone Supervolcano Erupted?" Their conclusion started with the scenario that scientists would be able to sound the alarm and lead a mass exodus from the western side of the U.S, before the explosion would basically ruin all of Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana and bury each state under more than a meter of ash.
The following decade-long winter could cause economic collapse, droughts, famine, and more. And those of us who would likely be evacuated from Wyoming would never be able to go home, and we might die a slow, painful death anyway!
Don't worry though, in geologic terms, the Supervolcano may technically be "overdue" for an eruption, but scientists expect that it won't erupt for another 1000-10,000 years. We might be okay, but out great-great-great-great-great-etc grandkids might have some issues to deal with as they forget their ancestral homeland of "Why-home-ing."