Yellowstone National Park is one of the must-see locations in the U.S., but underneath it is one of about 20 supervolcanoes around the world and it could erupt at any time. Ahhh, nature.
A supervolcano is one that ejects more than 1,000 cubic kilometers of pumice and ash in a single eruption. The result of a super-eruption would be soot in the atmosphere blocking sunlight and cooling the planet for years, changing the global climate enough to kill a significant number of species (possibly including us).
This is scarier than a comet or asteroid impact because we can't send Bruce Willis to blow it up. It's right in our backyard. So, naturally NASA has come up with a way to delay that devastating event and generate clean energy in the process.
Seismologists believe the supervolcano under Yellowstone erupts once every 600,000 or so years. The odds we'll see it are low, but we're coming up on that thermal breaking point where it will blow... eventually. NASA's plan is to cool the magma chambers inside the supervolcano so it doesn't.
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