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US NewsA Giant Volcano Could End Human Life on Earth as We Know It

15:05  22 august  2019
15:05  22 august  2019 Source:   msn.com

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If you’re planning to visit Yellowstone National Park this Labor Day weekend, I have good news: It is very, very, very unlikely that the supervolcano beneath it will erupt while you’re there. The Yellowstone supervolcano — an 8 out of 8 on the Volcanic Explosivity Index — has erupted three times over the

Human -made existential risks like nuclear war or even artificial intelligence are, of course, well within our ability to prevent. Our species faces greater existential peril than we ever have before, but unlike through most of our existence, we now have the ability to protect ourselves.

A Giant Volcano Could End Human Life on Earth as We Know It © Illustration by Zak Tebbal; Photographs from Getty Images

If you’re planning to visit Yellowstone National Park this Labor Day weekend, I have good news: It is very, very, very unlikely that the supervolcano beneath it will erupt while you’re there.

The Yellowstone supervolcano — an 8 out of 8 on the Volcanic Explosivity Index — has erupted three times over the past 2.1 million years, most recently 640,000 years ago. A Yellowstone eruption would be like nothing humanity has ever experienced.

First would come increasingly intense earthquakes, a sign that magma beneath Yellowstone was rushing toward the surface. Then magma would burst through the ground in a titanic eruption, discharging the toxic innards of the earth to the air. It would continue for days, burying Yellowstone in lava within a 40-mile radius.

3,800-year-old mural found in northern Peru

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Volcanoes are like Galactus. They both destroy and create. The magma and lawa spewed by volcanoes destroys cities but the ash and the volcanic soil creates opportunities for the growth of plants and creates more lands for the nations.

Rarely do we think the world could end at any moment. Genetic research shows that around the same time the eruption occurred, the amount of humans on Earth drastically decreased. As a note, there are some research to suggest that the decline was due to more than just the volcano . But scientists know that eruptions of supervolcanoes could potentially wipe humanity (and other forms of

A Giant Volcano Could End Human Life on Earth as We Know It © Getty Black Sand Basin in Yellowstone.

A bad day at the park. But the devastation around Yellowstone would be just the beginning. Volcanologists believe a Yellowstone supereruption would bury large swaths of Colorado, Wyoming and Utah in up to three feet of toxic volcanic ash. Depending on the weather patterns, much of the Midwest would receive a few inches, too, plunging the region into darkness. Even the coasts — where a majority of Americans live — would most likely see a dusting as the ash cloud spread. Crops would be destroyed; pastureland would be contaminated. Power lines and electrical transformers would be ruined, potentially knocking out much of the grid.

That’s just the United States. Modeling by meteorologists has found that the aerosols released could spread globally if the eruption occurred during the summer. Over the short term, as the toxic cloud blocked sunlight, global average temperatures could plunge significantly — and not return to normal for several years. Rainfall would decline sharply. That might be enough to trigger a die-off of tropical rain forests. Farming could collapse, beginning with the Midwest. It would be, as a group of researchers wrote in a 2015 report on extreme geohazards for the European Science Foundation, “the greatest catastrophe since the dawn of civilization.”

Giant pumice raft from underwater volcanic eruption makes its way to Great Barrier Reef

Giant pumice raft from underwater volcanic eruption makes its way to Great Barrier Reef An island of floating rock known as a pumice raft is gradually heading for Australian shores across the Coral Sea and is so expansive it can be tracked via satellite. Australian couple Michael Hoult and Larissa Brill detailed their experience in a Facebook post with the "total rock rubble slick" while sailing their catamaran to Fiji. "The waves were knocked back to almost calm and the boat was slowed to 1kt," they wrote. "The rubble slick went as far as we could see in the moonlight and without spotlight — we made a turn to starboard and managed to sail clear of the rubble slick.

Humans have long been obsessed with "The End ." Since the dawn of civilization, people claiming to know when the big day is coming have Renowned astrophysicist Stephen Hawking has warned that over-population is another possible bullet that could lead to the demise of Earth as we know it .

The earth would end if a giant super volcano exploded or if a nuclear holocaust broke out wiping out the While the universe is a vast, mysterious place, alien life could be out there. With the chance of other Worst case scenario, At least we know we might be able to scare them off like they did in the

A Giant Volcano Could End Human Life on Earth as We Know It © Getty Steam erupts from Grand Prismatic Spring, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming.

Supervolcanoes like Yellowstone represent what are known as existential risks — ultra-catastrophes that could lead to global devastation, even human extinction. They can be natural, like supereruptions or a major asteroid impact of the scale that helped kill off the dinosaurs, or they can be human-made, like nuclear war or an engineered virus. They are, by definition, worse than the worst things humanity has ever experienced. What they are not, however, is common — and that presents a major psychological and political challenge.

Though asteroids get the press and the Michael Bay movies, existential risk experts largely agree that supervolcanoes — of which there are 20 scattered around the planet — are the natural threat that poses the highest probability of human extinction. But that’s not the same thing as high. The probability of a supereruption at Yellowstone in any given year is 1 in 730,000.

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We know that the Earth has been hit by some very large asteroids that have barely registered as life destroyers. Researchers can hypothesise almost no end of threats to life on Earth . Beginning around 5 billion years from now, the Sun will expand, becoming a swollen star called a red giant .

The end -Permian mass extinction, as it is more formally known , was quite simply the biggest disaster ever to hit life on Earth . However, the precise details of how this caused so many life forms to die out remain the subject of scientific discussion. These debates are no mere academic dispute.

Gallery: The most incredible active volcanoes you can visit (Love Exploring)

But extremely unlikely isn’t the same thing as impossible, even though it’s human nature to conflate the two. What sets existential risks apart from everyday dangers isn’t likelihood but consequence.

Let’s say, as scientists have modeled, that a supereruption might kill 10 percent of the global population. Even if such eruptions occur roughly every 714,000 years — the low end of the frequency range — the death toll of that catastrophe equates to the expected loss of over 1,000 people annually, averaged out between now and when that supervolcano finally blows. If they occur roughly every 45,000 years — the high end of the range — that annual expected death toll jumps to some 17,000.

A bit of comparison helps here. Aviation accidents around the world caused 556 deaths in 2018. The Federal Aviation Administration alone spends more than $7 billion a year on aviation safety. Yet the United States spends only about $22 million annually on its volcano hazard programs — even though supervolcanoes, viewed over the longest of the long term, will kill far more people than plane crashes.

Pumice island size of Manhattan floating in Pacific

Pumice island size of Manhattan floating in Pacific An underwater volcano is the likely source of a pumice stone island, the size of Manhattan, which has formed in the Pacific. The huge mass of stone, near to Tonga, has been floating through the Pacific for the last two weeks, and follows reports of plumes of smoke from the direction of a named submarine volcano. But NASA reports that volcanologists at the Smithsonian in the US believe the pumice raft could be from an unnamed volcano, which hasn't had a reported explosion since 2001.

Life on Earth began due to volcanic activity. Volcanoes released gases and water from the molten Earth . Algae developed in that early ocean eventually led to the modern oxygen-rich atmosphere and more complex life forms. Other benefits of volcanoes include rich soil, new land and mineral resources.

Today, many scientists believe we are on the cusp of a sixth mass extinction which could wipe out most life on Earth as we know it . 1. Amphibians Are Dying Out Today, we are witnessing another giant group of species going extinct so rapidly we can actually measure it in human time, rather than

Gallery: The volcano that built Bermuda is unlike anything on Earth (National Geographic)

The difference, of course, is that aviation poses a risk that is relatively constant and known. There will probably never be a year in which no one dies in an aviation accident, but there will definitely never be a year in which 10 percent of the global population dies in a single plane crash. Yet that could happen with a supervolcano, an asteroid strike or a nuclear war.

We can reduce these existential risks. NASA has budgeted $150 million a year on planetary defense and could invest in space-based telescopes that might catch the asteroids we’re missing now. It would cost about $370 million a year to bring the rest of the world up to the same level of volcanic monitoring that the United States has, which would lessen the chance of being surprised by a supereruption and thus reduce the potential death toll. Human-made existential risks like nuclear war or even artificial intelligence are, of course, well within our ability to prevent. Our species faces greater existential peril than we ever have before, but unlike through most of our existence, we now have the ability to protect ourselves.

What has happened before can and will happen again, eventually — but because we remain confined to the brief human time horizons of our own experience, we treat them as unreal. In doing so, we leave ourselves vulnerable to what we can’t imagine.

Volcano erupts again with "high intensity"

Volcano erupts again with There was no immediate word of any injuries or major damage, but local authorities are asking those on the island to be vigilant and remain in safe places to avoid coming into contact with volcanic ash. Gallery: The world’s most incredible active volcanoes you can visit (Love Exploring) Wednesday's eruption was stronger than the one in July that killed a hiker and sent tourists jumping into the sea for safety. Molten material from the volcano from that eruption ignited a series of fires. © Provided by CBS Interactive Inc.

If population levels continue to rise, our grandchildren will see the Earth plunged into crisis, argues Stephen Emmott.

mass extinction. extinct. humans . life on earth . A super volcano that creates a toxic ash cloud covering Earth . Gamma ray explosions. Shifting of magnetic fields.

Bryan Walsh (@bryanrwalsh) is the author of “End Times: A Brief Guide to the End of the World.”

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