from the and-yet-long-enough-that-we-wouldn't-do-anything-about-it dept.
Science_afficionado writes: Super-eruptions – you know, those gigantic prehistoric volcanic outbursts that throw 100 times more superheated gas, ash and rock into the atmosphere than run-of-the-mill eruptions like Mt. St. Helens — tend to pop-off within a few hundred years after their underground body of magma reaches a high enough proportion of molten rock and low enough proportion of crystallization to become explosive. That's a much shorter time than geologists had thought. That means if the hot spot under Yellowstone, for example, were to turn explosive, then we would only have couple hundred years to prepare for an eruption that could blanket the entire continent with up to 3,600 cubic miles of ash and rock!
"Card readers? We don't need no stinking card readers."
-- Peter da Silva (at the National Academy of Sciencies, 1965, in a
particularly vivid fantasy)