110 votes

How much damage to the US would a Yellowstone eruption cause?

EDIT: damn, this got me my first gold badge Here is a useful source, which is itself based off of this. Here is an ancillary source. WTL;DR: all the damage TL;DR: everything within 80 kilometers ...
KEY_ABRADE's user avatar
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60 votes
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A hang glider, sudden unexpected lift to 25,000 feet altitude, what could do this?

Getting caught in a thunderstorm is the most likely cause. This can happen even to experts if they are incautious enough to take risks with the weather. Here's an example with a paraglider. (I'll see ...
chasly - supports Monica's user avatar
49 votes
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What wearable material do I need to survive a pyroclastic flow?

No You don't make a suit to survive a pyroclastic cloud. Much like a hurricane the problem isn't that the wind is blowing; the problem is what the wind is blowing. Sure you could make a 4 ton mech ...
anon's user avatar
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33 votes
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How powerful would a volcanic eruption need to be to blast debris to the height of the ISS?

I don't think you could get a 16g volcanic bullet into space. I mean, we can get rid of the atmosphere for a moment, and recognize that $v=\sqrt\frac{E}{m}=\sqrt\frac{64365\text J}{16.362\text g}=1 ...
Cort Ammon's user avatar
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33 votes
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Can a giant mountain be used as a wind shield?

Your party lands in a crater like that of Haleakala. https://hanahou.com/14.4/quiet Of course, national park status alone isn’t enough to make a place quiet, as any visit to Yellowstone will prove. ...
Willk's user avatar
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29 votes

Can lava still be red hot liquid underwater?

It's possible. Summary: At sufficiently high pressure, the water will not boil as it normally does inside earth's oceans. Heat loss through convection can be stopped by naturally occurring ...
Maria check profile's user avatar
27 votes
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What would happen to Earth if Yellowstone Erupted

If a volcano erupts in the forest and there's nobody there to see it... The post humanity nature of this question makes a big difference, what's left of the natural world will be thriving BBC Ash ...
Separatrix's user avatar
  • 118k
27 votes

Can lava still be red hot liquid underwater?

Lava in its liquid state is always red hot. The red hot is actually caused by blackbody radiation and is a side effect of any object hot enough to melt rocks. However, objects that hot cause water ...
Cort Ammon's user avatar
  • 132k
23 votes

How can a human cause the Yellowstone to erupt?

There is no easy way to make it erupt Sure you could say drill a deep enough hole and fill it with explosives or an H-bomb and let it go. But the key here is pressure. For Yellowstone to be an ...
anon's user avatar
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23 votes

What wearable material do I need to survive a pyroclastic flow?

Make a balloon suit instead of a fire suit Protecting a person from the dangers specified will require all the available payload space they have, ie, knights in shining armor don't carry anything else ...
Green's user avatar
  • 52.8k
17 votes

How powerful would a volcanic eruption need to be to blast debris to the height of the ISS?

No. Using mathematical predictions the maximum possible height for normal (aka non bolide induced) volcanic plume is just over 60km which is still hundreds of kilometers short of the ISS. The problem ...
John's user avatar
  • 81k
17 votes

How powerful would a volcanic eruption need to be to blast debris to the height of the ISS?

If you really want to hit the ISS, you'll need a lot of hand-waving. And even then, directly hitting the ISS is impossible for a rocky projectile thrown upwards - the acceleration would have to be so ...
LSerni's user avatar
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16 votes
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How can a human cause the Yellowstone to erupt?

Likeliest - but alas already taken - answers anon's: "there is no easy way". I'd go for that one, even if it's anticlimactic. Ash's: "drill a hole in the magma chamber to trigger outgassing". By far ...
LSerni's user avatar
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16 votes
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What's the largest igneous province an impact event could create on Earth?

Well, the maximum possible would be about 510 million square kilometres, eg. the surface area of the earth: The hypothesised Theia impact would have probably resurfaced much of the earth. The ...
Starfish Prime's user avatar
15 votes

How can a human cause the Yellowstone to erupt?

With a reasonably small (but very expensive) drill actually. The reason dormant volcanoes like Yellowstone or Taupo are quiet is not because they are no longer being feed heat and magma but because ...
Ash's user avatar
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15 votes

Can a giant mountain be used as a wind shield?

Probably not. The trouble is that while mountain chains can and do divert wind patterns a single mountain generally wont 'block' wind flow. What it will do is disrupt it. I suspect but cannot prove ...
Mon's user avatar
  • 17k
14 votes

What would happen to Earth if Yellowstone Erupted

The eruption would do absolutely nothing to "Earth as a whole". On a geological scale, it's a minor blip, nothing special. Has happened hundreds of times. The effects it would have on the climate are ...
Michael Borgwardt's user avatar
14 votes
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Volcanoes in Orbit!

What we're concerned with here is the eruption column and subsequent plume arising from the volcanic eruption. This is a shield volcano, so it's not going to erupt a la Mount St. Helens; rather, it ...
HDE 226868's user avatar
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13 votes

What wearable material do I need to survive a pyroclastic flow?

No, nothing you could carry will allow you to survive a pyroclastic flow, and nothing that cannot survive a large bomb explosion will survive one either. THis is what the forces involved can do, ...
John's user avatar
  • 81k
13 votes

How long does it take for islands to form after an underwater volcanic eruption?

Google Surtsey. http://www.surtsey.is/pp_ens/gen_3.htm This was an undersea volcano that formed off the coast of iceland. National Geographic had a series of articles on it. The water was shallow(...
Sherwood Botsford's user avatar
13 votes

Stopping a Volcano

Yes... and no... A volcano explodes (very simplistically, this is the problem) with a force. Apply the equation F=mA. We know the force of the volcanic explosion, we know the acceleration of Earth'...
JBH's user avatar
  • 122k
13 votes

What's the largest igneous province an impact event could create on Earth?

The largest surface available on Earth is, of course, the entire surface of the planet. An impact with enough energy to melt the entire crust would create a planet wide plateau of molten lava.
L.Dutch's user avatar
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12 votes

Geothermal Oasis Alternatives on Ice Planet

So, first of all, there's no particular reason that geothermal heat has to be dangerous. Scandanavia makes VERY extensive use of it and always has. The use of geothermal heating for exactly the kind ...
Morris The Cat's user avatar
12 votes

How might planet size affect volcanic activity?

Rayleigh number Copying from a thing I did on Astronomy SE on this very subject: The competition between forcing by thermal buoyancy and damping by viscosity and thermal diffusion is characterized by ...
KEY_ABRADE's user avatar
  • 12.8k
11 votes
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Geopolitical and Economic Implications of a Large Eruption at Yellowstone

This would be really bad. The United States would experience short-medium term economic devastation and be hit by major economic aftershocks for many years thereafter. Let’s make an assumption that ...
Avernium's user avatar
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11 votes
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A layer of igneous rock over a large area

You are talking about a Large Igneous Province The Siberian Traps erupted about 250 million years ago and covered an area of about 2 million km$^2$ with 1 to 4 km$^3$ of rock. That is an area the ...
kingledion's user avatar
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11 votes
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How could a volcanic island last for 100 million years?

By being an island arc volcano. You seem to be referring to hotspot volcanoes, which are fed by abnormally hot regions of the Earth's mantle. As the continental plates drift by overhead, the area fed ...
F1Krazy's user avatar
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11 votes
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Could an eruption be triggered at Yellowstone via kinetic bombardment?

Short answer: nope. TL;DR: unless your kinetic penetrator resembles the Chixulub impactor it will be too small to do the job. Longer answer: a kinetic penetrator cannot penetrate very far into an ...
Starfish Prime's user avatar
10 votes
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Lava behind a forcefield; How to solidify the lava in contact?

This all comes down to the mechanics of the forcefield. Does it allow the heat from the lava to pass through and be carried away by air convection on the inside? If it does then the lava will cool and ...
Tim B's user avatar
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10 votes
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Is there anything wrong with my plate tectonics map?

Hotspots You don't really need them, but they exist and would show you where to put island chains. Also, hotspots on land can produce interesting features such as Mount Kilimanjaro and the ...
kingledion's user avatar
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Only top scored, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible