How many volcanoes would you guess are erupting right this minute?
Would you guess 5? Would you guess 10?
Try 25 – many of them in the Far East, but plenty in Central and South America around the so-called “ring of fire.”
Check out this map from VolcanoDiscovery.com of the 25 currently erupting volcanoes today.
And all this activity is sparking fears by seismological experts and ordinary people who live near hundreds of active and dormant volcanoes from California to Japan about the next possible big one.
At least three potential super-volcanos have the attention of scientists worldwide because of the devastation any of them – two in the U.S. and one in Japan – could wreak on the planet, killing tens of millions and ravaging global economies.
Rumblings continue at the Yellowstone Caldera in America’s most famous national park. Scientists warn that a major eruption of the Wyoming volcano would kill an estimated 87,000 people immediately and render two-thirds of the U.S. uninhabitable because of an ash cloud that would spark rapid climate change. At the same time, seismologists downplay the possibility with some of them claiming it has been hundreds of thousands of years since the volcano last blew.
If it ever does blow, scientists say a massive eruption could be 6,000 times more powerful than Washington state’s Mount St. Helens in 1980, which killed 57 people and deposited ash in 11 different states and five Canadian provinces.
If the volcano explodes, a climate shift could ensue as the volcano would spew massive amounts of sulphur dioxide into the atmosphere, which can form a sulphur aerosol that reflects and absorbs sunlight.
If that scenario sounds apocalyptically scary, consider the other volcano being watched worldwide off the shore of Japan. Just last week, Japanese scientists were warning an eruption at the Kikai Caldera, about 50 miles south of Japan’s main island, could kill 100 million people and set off catastrophic global climate change that would make the world forget about “global warming” scares.
The Japanese lava dome was recently discovered in an underwater volcano. It is growing in size and was formed, scientists believe, following what is known as the Akahoya super-eruption that may have wiped out the ancient Jomon culture that inhabited the southern Japanese island of Kyushu at the time.
“Although the probability of a gigantic caldera eruption hitting the Japanese archipelago is 1 percent in the next 100 years, it is estimated that the death toll could rise to approximately 100 million in the worst-case scenario,” said professor Yoshiyuki Tatsumi, head of the Kobe Ocean-Bottom Exploration Center and a magma specialist.
Super-eruptions are rare but devastating events that can have global impacts due to volcanic ash and chemicals obscuring the sun and triggering a “volcanic winter.”
Researchers who made the discovery said there was a slim chance a super-eruption could occur at the site, releasing over 10 cubic miles of magma in one burst.
If all that is not enough to worry about, there are three more volcanos in California alone that are have threat levels listed as “very high” – Mount Shasta, Lassen Volcanic Center and Long Valley Volcanic Region. Three more are listed at “high threat” levels – Clear Lake Volcanic Field, Medicine Lake Volcano and Salton Buttes.