A video revealed what would happen if a planet-killer asteroid that’s capable of triggering an extinction-level event hits the Yellowstone supervolcano. According to the video, the overall effect of the impact would depend on the size of the asteroid.
Earth getting hit by a massive asteroid and the Yellowstone supervolcano going off are probably two impending events that scientists are worried about. The last time that Earth got hit by an asteroid large enough to wipe out an entire species was around 66 million years ago.
As for the Yellowstone supervolcano, the last time it erupted was 630,000 years ago. According to studies within the region, this supervolcano, which has a caldera that measures about 45 miles long, is already overdue for an eruption.
The YouTube channel Life’s Biggest Questions recently released a video showing what would happen if these two catastrophic events happened at the same time. Specifically, the video explained what would happen if a massive asteroid lands on Yellowstone.
According to Rebecca Felgate, the narrator of the video, the effects of the impact would depend on the size of the asteroid. If it is as big as the one that caused the dinosaurs’ extinction, which is about 50 miles in diameter, then it would certainly trigger a massive eruption that will have a worldwide effect.
“If it did hit Yellowstone, then it would likely affect the volcano, likely causing a lava eruption and it would be a nightmare,” Felgate said.
Like the asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs, a 50-mile asteroid will be powerful enough to set off numerous volcanoes around the world. The plumes of ash and debris from these simultaneous eruptions will cover the atmosphere and block out the Sun, forcing a nuclear winter all over Earth.
Despite this, the narrator said that it would still be better for humans if the asteroid hits Yellowstone directly instead of crashing in a different region. That way, both the impact zone and point of eruption will be in the same place, instead of being in two different danger areas.
“But actually it would probably be better that the massive asteroid hit the volcano and keep the danger zone to a singular zone of total and utter life-ending chaos, rather than it hitting hundreds of kilometers away and trigger an eruption creating two death zones,” Felgate said.
“If an asteroid of dinosaur-killing proportions did hit the Earth, it becomes irrelevant where it hits,” he added. “But if it did hit Yellowstone, we would go from screwed to affirmatively screwed.”
An illustration shows an asteroid impacting Earth in circumstances similar to the asteroid strike that killed the dinosaurs and plunged the world into darkness. Photo: NASA/NCAR