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Yellowstone supervolcano may blow sooner than thought — could wipe out life on the planet

By: Matthew Diebel, USATODAY
October 12, 2017 Updated: October 14, 2017 at 5:26 pm
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photo - Wyoming: Yellowstone National Park is a natural bucket list destination when you visit Wyoming, and there are places in the park you won't want to miss. Old Faithful Geyser will be on your itinerary, but you'll want to see Grand Prismatic Spring, too. The geyser has a bright blue center with rings of color in reds and green circling outward. The show is due to a combination of pigmented heat-loving bacteria and light reflection. It's also the third largest geyser in the world: It's wider than a football field and is deep enough to swallow a 10-story building. Take a trip up to Isa Lake while you're there. Perched astride the Continental Divide, the mountain lake drains into both the Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific Ocean.
(Photo: lorcel, Getty Images/iStockphoto)
Wyoming: Yellowstone National Park is a natural bucket list destination when you visit Wyoming, and there are places in the park you won't want to miss. Old Faithful Geyser will be on your itinerary, but you'll want to see Grand Prismatic Spring, too. The geyser has a bright blue center with rings of color in reds and green circling outward. The show is due to a combination of pigmented heat-loving bacteria and light reflection. It's also the third largest geyser in the world: It's wider than a football field and is deep enough to swallow a 10-story building. Take a trip up to Isa Lake while you're there. Perched astride the Continental Divide, the mountain lake drains into both the Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific Ocean. (Photo: lorcel, Getty Images/iStockphoto) 

Scientists working in and around Yellowstone National Park say that the supervolcano sitting under the tourist attraction may blow sooner than thought, an eruption that could wipe out life on the planet.

According to National Geographic, the researchers, from Arizona State University, analyzed minerals in fossilized ash from the most recent mega-eruption and found changes in temperature and composition that had only taken a few decades. Until now, the magazine reported, geologists had thought it would take centuries for the supervolcano to make the transition.

The discovery, which was presented at a recent volcanology conference, comes on top of a 2011 study that found that ground above the magma reservoir in Yellowstone had bulged by about 10 inches in seven years.

"It's an extraordinary uplift, because it covers such a large area and the rates are so high," the University of Utah's Bob Smith, an expert in Yellowstone volcanism, told the magazine at the time.

Read the full story at USA Today.

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