Can You Outrun A Supervolcano? Essays

1097 Words Mar 8th, 2016 5 Pages
Can You Outrun a Supervolcano? Maybe, Study Finds
By Becky Oskin, Contributing Writer | March 07, 2016 09:49am ET
Yellowstone hot spring Pin It When a supervolcano like Yellowstone erupts, residents may have a few hours to escape once the disaster has started, a new study suggests.
Credit: "Windows into the Earth," Robert B. Smith and Lee J. Siegel
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Can you outrun a supervolcano? New evidence from an ancient eruption suggests the answer is a surprising yes.

"I wouldn 't recommend anyone try to outrun a volcano, but there 's a few of us that could," said Greg Valentine, a volcanologist at the University at Buffalo in New York.

By analyzing rocks trapped in volcanic ash, Valentine and his colleagues discovered the lethal ash flow spread at street speeds — about 10 to 45 mph (16 to 72 km/h). It might be hard to sustain this pace on foot, but it 's certainly possible by car. [Big Blasts: History 's 10 Most Destructive Volcanoes]

The findings were published today (March 7) in the journal Nature Communications.

"It 's really interesting how you can have such a violent eruption producing such slow-moving flows," said Valentine, co-author of the new study. "They still devastate a huge area, but they 're slow and concentrated and dense," he told Live Science. His collaborators include Olivier Roche, of Blaise Pascal University in France and David Buesch, of the U.S. Geological Survey.

Of course, the safest way to deal with any rumbling volcano is to…

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