If the sleeping giant awakens, would it wreck havoc on Earth?

Yellowstone Volcano
(Photo : Wikimedia/ Brocken Inaglory, CC BY-SA 3.0)
Steam phase eruption of Castle Geyser demonstrates primary and secondary rainbows and Alexander's band in Yellowstone National Park.

Aside from being an American Treasure, Yellowstone is also the world's oldest National Park. Yellowstone National Park was established in 1872 which stretches across three states with a length of 3472 square miles.

Nearly three million visitors flock in the Yellowstone National Park every year. Tourists come to take in the stunning natural landscape which includes a number of hiking trails, mountain peaks and hot springs. Aside from this, the park is also home to the Old Faithful geyser, and a very rich wild life.

However, below the majestic landscape lies a natural wonder which can erase the park from the face of the earth in one blast, and some sources even say that it can cause the apocalypse. The Yellowstone Super Volcano, which rests under the surface of the park, according to the United States Geological Survey (USGS) is a massive source of granitic magma. Studies show that the volcano is unlikely to erupt soon but once it does, it definitely is bad news for every living soul near the park.

It can be recalled that in the doomsday movie 2012, the apocalypse started with the eruption of the famous Yellowstone Super Volcano. We have seen what the film makers believe may happen, but that's just in the movies. And up to this moment, the question still lies, what would really happen if the Super Volcano that has been asleep for almost 2 million years decides it is time to wake up?

Also read: Yellowstone Volcano Eruption's Impact Can be Predicted by New Computer Model

According to National Geographic's Joel Achenbach, if ever the volcano does erupt, heat from the planet's core would melt the molten granite just under the surface of the park creating a mixture of magma, rocks, vapor, carbon dioxide and other gases. The pressure that is created by the mixture would then push the ground into a dome shape creating cracks on its edges. As the pressure then escape through the cracks, the dissolved gases would react and explode which will empty the magma across the park in a quick and terrifying way.

Based on studies, the eruption is expected to kill approximately 90,000 people in a snap and then continue to spread a three meter layer of molten ash for as far as 1,000 miles from the park. Since ash is most likely to block all entry to the area from the ground, and gases will continue to spread in the atmosphere which would ground all air crafts, rescuing those inside the 1,000-mile radius is next to impossible.

Some studies also suggest that the eruption of Yellowstone Super Volcano is likely to create a "nuclear winter" that could blanket the whole United States and other parts of the world. This is because when an explosion happens, sulfuric gases would be released and would rise up and mic with the water vapor in the Earth's atmosphere. The haze would not only result to a dimmer sunlight but also very low temperature. The drop on the temperature would then result to scarcity of food supply due to the damage on the crops and would throw off the food chain.

According to the USGS, people could still relax since the volcano is not yet likely to erupt during our lifetime and we do not need to worry about it for the next thousands of years. However, in January, there have been 41 seismic activities that have been observed in areas surrounding Yellowstone National Park, which lead people to think that the Yellowstone Super Volcano is already little by little waking up from its 2-million year slumber.

Related article: Yellowstone Volcano Eruption Theories Surface Following 41 Nearby Seismic Activities