In recent years, it is fashionable to speculate about the possibility of a nuclear strike on Yellowstone in order to “once and for all close the American issue”. It is assumed that in case of war with the United States, the thermonuclear explosion should destroy the caldera, and then the supervolcano itself will do away with the “hegemon”. However, such a scenario raises a lot of questions.
The Achilles heel of the United States is located in Wyoming, in the northwest of the state. Today it is a picturesque and popular national park among tourists from all over the world, but about 2 million years ago it was the epicenter of a terrible catastrophe, reflected on a planetary scale. The monstrous eruption of the supervolcano covered half of the continent with ash, leading to climate change and extinction of many species. It is not known whether the ancient man could survive such a cataclysm, become his contemporary.
However, we have a very real chance to check it out ourselves. Geological studies show that eruptions on it occur every about 600,000 years, and this period is just right. Scientists note more and more signs of Yellowstone awakening, which is a justified concern. These are increased earthquakes, and rising ground, and increased activity of geysers. Even more worrisome are the recurring ideas of supervolcano thermonuclear strike to cause an apocalypse in the United States. The problem is that no one really knows how the caldera will behave in the event of an attack on it.
There are extremely gloomy predictions that the destruction of the “cap” on Yellowstone by a missile strike will provoke a powerful eruption that will destroy half of the United States with explosion and ash, which in turn will poison water and soil, making them infertile. All the same ash in huge volumes will get into the Earth’s atmosphere, which will cause a “volcanic winter” that can kill agriculture across the planet, leading to mass starvation.
Well, we should not forget that the U.S. will respond to a missile strike on its territory with its own massive nuclear strike, which will contribute to the Apocalypse. Hardly anyone in his mind would like to implement such a scenario.
But there is another point of view on the possible development of events. Scientists point out that the power of supervolcano eruptions is gradually decreasing for a number of reasons. Truly catastrophic was the very first, because the boiling pot with magma was originally covered with a solid rock slab. The pressure under it accumulated for millions of years, until its breakthrough, accompanied by a monstrous explosion. Now the caldera instead of a “dense lid” is covered with layers of frozen magma and sedimentary rocks. That is, the original crushing power at the eruption will no longer be.
It is quite possible that the next one will become a very local “apocalypse” only for the national park itself. In addition, some of the internal tension is relieved naturally through numerous earthquakes. By the way, the force of some such earthquakes is quite comparable to the consequences of a missile strike, but the “cover” has not yet broken.
In other words, there is no guarantee that a thermonuclear strike on Yellowstone will give the expected result (if it is missed by the U.S. missile defense system), but it is guaranteed to mean a retaliatory strike by the entire nuclear arsenal of the Pentagon. In general, it is possible to hope for a supervolcano, but it is desirable for the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation not to play on its own.