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Volcanic Winter

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Have you ever heard of a volcanic winter? It is a situation in which heavy volcanic ash obscures the sun, causing temperatures around the world to considerably drop. Volcanic winters usually last for a few years and can potentially cause worldwide destruction, making them one of the more realistic threats to the world as we know it.

There are several times in history this has happened. The most recent volcanic winter occurred in 1991, along with the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo in the Philippines. It cooled global temperatures for about 3 years. In 1883, the eruption of Krakatoa lead to an extreme volcanic winter. The years following were unusually cold, with record snowfalls being recorded around the globe.  

The 1815 eruption of Mt. Tambora lead to June snowfalls in the northern hemisphere, eventually known as “The Year Without a Summer” of 1816. There are several more, but undoubtedly, the worst volcanic winter was caused by the supereruption of Lake Toba around 73,000 years ago.

It wiped out thousands, possibly millions of plant and animal species. It caused massive deforestation in southeast Asia and dropped global temperatures by 1 degrees Celsius. The scariest part is that it is believed that this volcanic winter nearly exterminated mankind.

And experts say…

We are in danger of that happening again.

There is a supervolcano known as the Yellowstone Caldera located in Yellowstone National Park of Wyoming, USA. It poses as a huge threat to our world. Scientists believe that its last eruption, occurring nearly 640,000 years ago, spewed 240 cubic miles of rock, dust, and volcanic ash into our atmosphere.

It is also the location where 1,000 to 2,000 earthquakes are recorded each year, some coming in swarms. If this ticking time bomb were ever to erupt without us being aware, it could easily lead the world into a volcanic winter that would end life on earth. 

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