What Would Make a VSI 12?

Guest post by Tallis

source: https://www.nextbigfuture.com/2013/10/fermi-paradox-great-filters-and-super.html

My father and I disagree on a lot of things from religion, politics, career, and more; One of the things we disagree on is the title of worst geological disaster. I believe that title goes to volcanoes while my father believes it goes to earthquakes. This is actually a fun point of contention (For me at least) and is part of a larger passive debate. We haven’t even come close to seeing the worst case scenario for eruptions, in fact we haven’t seen a truly bad case scenario for volcanoes! Think back to all of the most deadly eruptions of the past 100 years, all of those eruptions were 100s, 1,000s, 10,000s, or even 100,000s of times smaller than some of the larger eruptions in recent geological history.

The most violent eruptions of then past 2000 years have grabbed endless amounts of fascination among the geological community. The most violent of which, the Hatepe eruption, hasn’t gotten as much attention as it’s peers. In my opinion, this might be the only historical eruption that rivals the 1883 eruption of Krakatoa’s intensity..This eruption released over 30 km3 of tephra in just 5 minutes and produced the most impressive pyroclastic flows since the Akahoya eruption. The pyroclastic flows traveled 80 km from the volcano, over mountains and across valleys, while traveling at the speed of sound for a significant portion of the flows lifetime. In fact the only reason the flows stopped is because there wasn’t enough material sustain it.

For an eruption smaller than the Tambora this very impressive. We’ve had 3 other “VEI 7s” like this in the past 2000 years and those weren’t as violent as the Hatepe eruption If an eruption like this were to happen in some other volcanoes now, millions would die if the proper preparations weren’t made. In fact, the way that people have been talking about historical eruptions has led to a huge misunderstanding about large eruptions. When people talk about eruptions like Tambora that are considered “VEI 7s” they automatically assume that they are just grade below the biggest eruptions of all time. After all, F4 tornadoes can be just a cut below f5 tornadoes and it’s same with hurricanes. We need to get some facts straight. Human society has not survived a VEI 7 let alone VEI 8. But Tallis! What about Tambora? I hear you say and I’ll say that wasn’t a VEI 7 either, at least not by the standards that other eruptions have to live up to. When most scientists judge larger eruptions, they use Dense Rock equivalency which is very different than bulk. DRE is for how much real magma is erupted while bulk is for the general erupted products. For all the smaller eruptions, bulk is used and for larger eruptions, DRE is used. This has led to a huge misunderstanding for just how powerful eruptions can get. For all of our historical “VEI 7s’ ‘ we’ve used bulk and if we were to use DRE, we’d no longer have any historical VEI 7s. Tambora, probably the largest eruption in history, just produced 46 km3 DRE of magma. Yes, this 30,000 megaton eruption is incredibly not that big in the slightest.

The Los chocoyos eruption, a real VEI 7, produced over 300 km3 DRE of magma, perfectly encapsulates the power that geologically frequent events can actually have. This eruption was around 6 times larger than the Tambora eruption making this a VEI 8 in bulk. This eruption produced pyroclastic flows that traveled 130 km away from the volcano at the minimum, dumped a few centimeters of ashfall 2,000 km away from the volcano in Florida. This eruption likely produced a cooling event in the range of 5-8 C and caused significant Ozone destruction. It cannot be understated how apocalyptic the damage an event like this would cause to our society and that’s not even the scary part! The scary part is the fact that there are eruptions that are up to 15 times bigger than the Los Chocoyos eruption.

Using bulk, we find that Toba and Yellowstone weren’t low-end VEI 8s, they were high end VEI 8s, and as it turns out VEI 9s are real too. Wah Wah springs and Fish Canyon were both over 130 times and 17 times larger than the Tambora eruption and the Los Chocoyos eruption respectively. This puts the energy of the largest eruptions that we know of around 4 Teratons of TNT, much more powerful than what is usually assumed. Unfortunately these eruptions happened so long ago it is almost impossible to give a detailed analysis or timeline. So one’s imagination could run wild concerning how destructive this event would be.

Massive eruptions are much more common than previously assumed, We’ve had 6 VEI 8s in bulk in the past 100,00 years (Toba, Los Chocoyos, Aso-4, Oruanui eruption, AT eruption, Akahoya eruption)  The Akahoya eruption released 500 km3 of magma making it over 10x larger than Tambora as well. Actually good news for Humanity but bad news for society.

The question is how would our society react to a VSI 12? (See the link for the definition.) I think now we actually have a much clearer idea of how the world would react, now that we are currently in the midst of a global crisis as well. The COVID-19 pandemic is the world’s first substantial crisis since the cold war and HIV/AIDs pandemic, it is also the first major respiratory pandemic since the Hong Kong flu in the 60s. Contrary to popular opinion, this pandemic is not that special when you look at the numbers. After you adjust for population growth, with a fatality rate of 0.5% Covid-19 has so far been no deadlier than the several other major flu pandemics and it’s almost nothing compared to the Spanish flu which killed between 1% and 5% of the world’s population at the time. A pandemic and volcanic eruption are two completely different things but both are global crises and just like we are  unprepared for a major volcanic eruption, we were also unprepared for Covid-19.

People don’t understand just how fragile our modern society is, this pandemic has dealt the economy a damaging blow, millions were put and are currently out of work, causing disrupting global supply chains and trade. This has led to global inflation which has caused a worldwide economic crisis. If this pandemic happened 200 years ago society would’ve carried on like nothing happened, and if it happened 50 years ago, it would’ve caused issues but not to this extent. Our complex system isn’t built to withstand disruptions of any kind and large volcanic eruption is one of the biggest disruptions that society can experience.

People also don’t understand just how high the chances are for a destructive eruption and just how many volcanoes threaten millions. A massive volcanic eruption is infinitely more likely than an asteroid impact, Gamma-ray burst, or other frequently talked about global disasters. There have been 11 major eruptions that were a low-grade VEI 7 or a high-end VEI 6 in the past 2000 years. Giving this year a 1 in 181 chance of receiving a major eruption. For what would be a major global disaster, those are some pretty high odds.

Coatepeque, El Savador

There are several VSI 12 candidates that some others and I have already written about, such as Tatun, Campi flegrei, Aso, Toba! But there’s more! There is so much more it’s actually pretty terrifying and exciting. Here’s a quick list of VSI 12 candidates ranked in no particular order and unfortunately I can’t give too much detail.

  1.     Tatun Volcanic group, Taiwan

  2.     Taal, Philippines    

  3.     Iwo-jima, Japan

  4.     Aso, Japan

  5.     Kikai, Japan

  6.     Coatepeque, El Savador    

  7.     Ilopango, El Savador

  8.     Campi Flegrei, Italy

  9.     Ischia, Italy

  10.     Santorini, Greece

  11.     Corbetti, Ethopia

  12.     Nevado Del Toluca, Mexico

  13.     Paektu, North Korea

  14.     Masaya, Nicaragua    

  15.     Apoyeque, Nicaragua

  16.     Los Humeros, Mexico

Nevado Del Toluca, Mexico

These are just the volcanoes I can remember off the top of my head and all of these can threaten millions with a VEI 6 eruption. To give further perspective on how bad volcanic eruption can be, if the Coatepeque caldera produced an eruption like the Hatepe event, almost all of El Salvador would be completely destroyed by PDCs. No other geological disaster can produce the damage a volcanic eruption can. We’ve already seen some worst case scenarios for earthquakes in the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and while I am not trying to diminish these events, an earthquake can not cause the same damage a volcano can.

Let’s take Corbetti for example, If the volcano were to produce an eruption the size of the Los Chocoyos eruption, over 10,000,000 people would die directly without adequate preparations, the economy of Ethiopia and East Africa would be immediately crippled as the ash fall would cripple transportation and infrastructure and the entire region would be in immediate risk of societal breakdown leading to the deaths of millions more. All of this would happen in just a couple of weeks and it would just be the beginning.

This pandemic has shown us one thing, a global disaster doesn’t have to do that much direct damage to be disruptive, people just have to believe it is. No past pandemic has caused this much damage to the economy and this pandemic isn’t that much worse than other past pandemics. With a massive eruption, the entire global economy would collapse before a single aerosol would form. If Corbetti produced a major eruption, the news of the volcano killing over 10 million people and the fear of volcanic winter would cause global panic the likes of which none of us would have ever seen. Global stock markets would all collapse completely, destroying companies and a large amount of wealth. Global trade would be crushed as every country would try to hastily prepare, leading to countries hoarding it’s resources and/or trying to take others by force. This would cause global food and gas prices to skyrocket making them far too expensive for the common man. This would lead to massive riots and unrest that would cripple preparations and the economy further. Most people would be homeless and unemployed before the volcanic winter actually hit. This isn’t to say that there is nothing that can be done, if the world came with a good global plan to withstand a large eruption and stuck to it, I do believe society could withstand a lower end VEI 8 eruption. I wouldn’t bet money on the world banding together to prepare for it though.

One thing you may have noticed about me is that I am a contrarian; as some edgy teenagers would put it, I don’t like following others. When I read the NDVP and saw the volcanoes on the list, I was impressed by the articles and the selection but I felt as if there were some missing candidates. This feeling is what lead me to research Tatun but one candidate that can’t be ignored on any list is Taal. All of last year, I was screaming my frustration that Taal was a side piece for the eruption in Iceland despite the increasing likelihood of a major eruption. Let us not forget the escalating activity at Taal, the incredible gas emissions, the phteaomagmatic bursts, and the incredible deformation.

As I have been saying constantly, the deformation at Taal is impressive, everything within 30km west of the volcano is inflating, while everything within 20 km southeast is deflating. This is a massive area, over 1,500 km2, the volcano is having a hard time getting magma out of it’s system and that’s a problem.

I’ve had enough of people saying absurd things about Taal, questioning the existence of it’s large magma reservoir and it’s explosivity. Let’s get some facts straight. This a caldera system, formed by large eruptions 140,000-5,800 years ago and for the past 5,800 years the volcano has been chugging out mafic products and smaller eruptions. The fact that this change in behavior is used to say that Taal is no longer capable of VE 6+ large eruptions, felsic eruptions, or doesn’t have large magma chambers is ridiculous.

Healthy calderas produce mafic eruptions all the time, a frequent cause for large silic systems is in fact, mafic magma melting the surrounding crust creating a felsic reservoir but sometimes that basaltic magma doesn’t want to change and it decides to erupt. Mafic products exist at Corbetti, Taupo, Toba, and MANY more. With Taal, there is no reason to assume that this volcano has done a complete flip in it’s volcanism, after so many large felsic eruptions, the volcano has been and is likely still in a recovery stage where it’s building silicic magma and erupting some basalt.

Sillic system don’t die like this, they don’t exist and erupt for over 100,000 years and become a small mafic system. Even if Taal exhausted all of its silicic magma and could only erupt and produce basalt there would still be the ineruptible crystal rich mash leftover, mingling with the basaltic magma that’s trying to erupt. This mush isn’t going to disappear and there should still be some at Taal even if one wants to believe that this a completely mafic system.

People need to understand that the postulated idea of small shallow magma chamber as the source of Taal ‘s recent eruptions makes no damn sense, a 2 km radius magma chamber isn’t going to produce repeat VEI 4s and large dikes; Large sillic chambers don’t just disappear without leaving a trace underground. These are facts.

It’s more likely that this volcano has a large magma chamber than not, the low-velocity zone just north of the volcano is a good candidate but there hasn’t been enough research into it. This shows one of the stupidest parts of human nature. Something that I’ll call “Peachy Bias.”. We’ve ripped on people for their irrational fear of certain events but there hasn’t been enough ripping on people that dismiss the threats that come with living in this world. The damage from the Japanese earthquake and tsunami could’ve been avoided if the Japanese government listened to a man named Ryohei Morimoto. This man predicted the worst affected area by the tsunami by looking at the evidence from past tsunamis. No one listened to him and then Fukushima happened. I love his quote “Even if they couldn’t predict the size of the tsunami, they should’ve been prepared for the waves of the past.”

Look at interviews after disasters, “I never thought this would happen.” “It’s so shocking.” “I didn’t have a plan.” “I couldn’t prepare.” are phrases you might hear. Despite living in tornado country, seeing other areas get hit by major tornadoes, you’ll still see people get surprised when they get hit by a tornado. It’s human nature to dismiss events that seem unlikely to happen and people believe in comforting thoughts and thinking about future catastrophes isn’t a comforting thought for most. Peachy Bias has cost the lives of hundreds of millions and is infinitely more dangerous than its counterpart. I can see a lot of peachy bias with Tatun. Despite a surplus of studies concerning it’s size and history and with 2 nuclear facilities near the volcano, the volcano is considered extinct by some and is completely unknown by others.

This what would make a VSI 12, thinking that Tatun is dead, Taal is incapable of producing a felsic eruption, or that some other volcano will stay dormant are the type of mindsets that precede disaster, volcanoes can erupt just as easily as they can stay asleep and to not have a plan is ridiculous.


305 thoughts on “What Would Make a VSI 12?

  1. Something I just thought of, in really large world affecting eruption resulting in a volcanic winter, 100 years ago every farmer had his seed store for the next year, maybe two. Now we have GMO crops which do not provide viable seed, the next years crop seed has to be bought. With disruptions to trade etc there may be very little seed to produce crops further down the line. Farmers?

    • Not a farmer, but horticulturist with a focus on non-edible stuff, so it’s not really my expertice.

      That being said, as far as I can tell, if GMO crops were considerably more prelevant in the world than they are atm, then the issue you listed might be a problem. But as of now, (what a quick giggle search provided) slightly less than 20% of global farm land uses GMO crops, and of those a huge quantity goes to animal feed, or various oils. So by and large not super necessary to uphold life as we know it, what with almost 80% of all agricultural land being used for animal feed, land which would be much better utilized by just growing food straight for human consumption and letting nature recover a fair share as well. (I’m not a saint when it comes to this, as I do eat meat myself)

      GMO crops are also generally banned in the EU, and other countries, so it wouldn’t exactly be a problem right here and now in those locations.

      Overall I think we would have bigger problems to worry about during a volcanic vinter than the use of GMO crops, at least at the time of writing.

      There would be hunger and such on a massive scale, as huge amounts of crops would fail, be they GMO or not, and nations would try to make sure their own citizens are feed before others.

      Just my thoughts

      • GMO are worldwide and have been for decades. Roundup resistant varieties that allow cheap, safe and broadspectrum glyposate (and a couple of other herbicides) instead of a big cocktail of different sprays targetting particular weed species are widespread.
        GMO pest-resistant (mostly insects) maize, cotton and a few others meaning that you do not need to spray (relative broadsprctrum) insecticides several times each year are slso commeon.
        Just not in the EU, largely to keep USA and third world food imports out.
        Basically all imported maize and soya is GMO, take it or leave it.

    • GMO has nothing to do with viable seed. The killer gene proposed has never been done.
      Seed from hybrid seed crops is viable, but does not breed true.
      Hybrid seed is important where the plant naturally does not breed true, leading to poor yields, and very variable individual plants (which may come to harvest months apart, and may all show different colour and height characteristics. Hybrid varieties are vital with maize because its impossible to farm in a modern way with machinery. For nearly all other crops that ‘breed true’ (oilseed rape, wheat, barley, rice etc) hybrids show surprisingly little benefit despite the astronomic seed cost.
      So unless you eat all your crops, you can always sow it out of the barn and get a crop. Even with untreated seed. I did it for 30+ years (with some subtleties).

      • Let’s not forget GMO wheat! I keep hearing that GMO wheat is the cause of the increase in gluten intolerance.

        I might find that argument slightly more convincing if GMO wheat actually existed (it doesn’t).

        • Exactly, false news everywhere.
          You don’t even have to grow hybrid oilseed rape (yet) as equally good conventional varieties are available.

          • What bothers me a lot regarding the GMO debate is this; the premise is that genetic modification is risky, hence bad. So, it makes me wonder, are they familiar with mutagenic DNA alteration? (Also called mutation breeding). Are they aware how much of their food (organics included) was created this way? A lot of this was done by exposing plants to high doses of gamma radiation to see if useful mutations occur (so, random DNA alteration and damage). This is okay, but GMO isn’t? That has never made sense to me.


            As for “natural” cross-breeding (which also, of course, alters DNA), that they are okay with too, but it’s more risk-prone than GMO, as I’m reminded of every time I have to deal with killer bees (which were created in this way).

          • Indeed, all our food plants are mutants selected by man.
            In many cases they are rather toxic since the best are pest resistant due to a cocktail of toxins so bad that only a small and limited range of insects an eat them and survive.
            Ames (of the famous ames mutagenic test) found most ‘synthetic industrial’ products were at some level mutagenic and campaigned to have them banned. Challenged that he had no controls he used common foods in his test and lo and behold they were full of mutagens (by and large). That basil on your pizza was equivalent to smoking 5 cigarettes, for example.
            The EC then declared that natural products used for years as food sources be declared mutagen-free by definition, otherwise we would have starved to death.
            I am always amused by the effort made breeding out glucosinolates and eructic acid from oilseed rape (both being rather toxic) whilst now kales with high levels of both of these are touted as very healthy foods with cancer-beating properties. Of course nature being nature its quite possible that a compound can both reduce cancers and cause them, which causes many bother!

          • PS I just noticed that a methan-detecting satellite has found massive methane losses from pipelines and production platforms but guess what, its all blamed on a few cows …

            Like UK river pollution and human sewage outfalls (just discovered!).


          • I;m reminded of the dire warnings over nitrates in hot dogs and other processed meats. Many vegetables not only have more, but an order of magnitude more.

            Kind of like the current panic over added sugar. The fact of the matter is that a gram of sucrose is a gram of sucrose, and it makes not a whit of difference how it got in the food. I also see sugar being renamed “evaporated cane juice”, because I’m sure that simply renaming something makes it healthier for you.

            It’s an unfortunate facet of human behavior that a great many people are predisposed to having strong opinions on subjects they do not understand. This is why so many have, for example, readily jumped on the bandwagon to ban dihydrogen monoxide. 🙂

          • CJ. Its a fact that hydrogen hydroxide kills tens of thousands every year and yet nobody ever tries to ban it, which is a disgrace.

          • “CJ. Its a fact that hydrogen hydroxide kills tens of thousands every year and yet nobody ever tries to ban it, which is a disgrace.”

            Sorry, Farmeroz, but that’s just not true. There are several organizations working for a ban on this very dangerous substance.

            Or another;

            This is relevant to vulcanology, because there are serious indicators that the massive blast at Hunga Tonga was contributed to by hydrogen hydroxide contamination. It is thus beholden upon us to support organizations like the Coalition to Ban DHMO, whose goal it is to ban this dangerous chemical, so that it is no longer present in our seas, lakes, and rivers.

      • White Sugar is a leathal toxin, that does not exist in nature, almost No animal expect some insects are evolved to eat that

        Humans are not evolved to process pure sugars, you finds plenty of meat, nuts, and tubers and carcasses, and fruit on the Savannah ..

        but you will never find a sugar cube in nature

        Im getting rid of all sugars and simple carbohydrates in my diet

        • That might be a bit of an overreaction, it isnt that toxic. Problem really is that it is used as though it is completely harmless which is also not true.

        • While I agree with you in the main on white sugar, Jesper, it does indeed exist in a hydrated form in nature. in fact, sucrose (which is what white sugar is) has the highest production worldwide of any single, pure, natural, organic chemical. Just because it’s natural, though, does not mean it’s healthy (I also exclude a few other naturally-occurring chemicals, like cyanide, from my diet). 🙂

  2. Getting back to Katla, is there any consensus on what caused that brief flurry of seismic activity?

    • My guess (mentioned yesterday) was part of the caldera walls caving in. A collapse over time.

      • It is more than that, Farmeroz. There are scientist who are highly specialized, work 16 hours a day, but only see their own field.
        And then there are scientists who are also curious. They belong largely to this guy: Galileo di Vincenzo Bonaiuti de’ Galilei. He was a polymath. Another one was Leonardo da Vinci.

        Thank God we still have some of them. Also Einstein belongs to this group. And I think that we need them. They are driven by curiosity and tend to find out new things, sometimes accidentally. In a way, also Alfred Wegener belongs to this groups.

        • Yes, you are right. Some I know cannot change a lightbulb and their knowledge of things fractionally outside their area of interest is zero. This is not always bad, so long as its understood (by them mostly) as autistic levels of dedication are often required to solve difficult problems.
          PS I think Einstein was rather limited to be honest, who cares.

      • Sorry for the two mistakes, minus 1 s in groups, plus 1 s scientists. Another one was Albert Schweitzer, but we wouldn’t call is maths in his case. He studied first theology, then medicine, and in between the organ, then built up the Lambarene hospital for patients suffering of Lepra, then got the Nobel Prize for Peace for his Philsosophy.
        I became influenced by a piece of Albert’s. It made me curious, and curiosity is the beginning of all growing knowledge.

      • Passage from interview:
        “Dijkgraaf: You have all these other, descriptors. And I feel, you know, beauty is being chased out of arts and it felt, found refuge in science.

        So the remarkable thing it’s like almost an upside-down world, you know, where the sciences which are often were accused of being, you know, in the — the romantic periods of being, you know, heartless and rational. And only about results and about mathematics. You know, the — the famous saying that, uh, Newton unweaved the rainbow.”

        Quite true. I can see it very clearly.
        On the other hand you can find (in arts) this disastrous comment:
        “In any case, I found an article in German with more of Stockhausen’s statement about the recent terrorism. It also exemplifies the cycles of revelation, destruction, remorse and rebirth that characterize patriarchal transcendental idealism. After Stockhausen described the WTC bombing as “the greatest work of art ever” a journalist asked him if he equated art and crime.”
        No matter what explanation he found for that comment afterwards (in link), I considered the guy, a famous painter who made church windows, ugly, nasty, egocentrical, pseudo-intellectual and wouldn’t visit churches for his stained glass windows.

        So, science today is rightly seen by Dijkgraaf as a refuge for beauty. Artists have often had it with esthetics. As the world/Solar System/Cosmos is beautiful science is closer to reality and to nature today.

    • Microwave:
      Just in case Albert is busy (or shy), here is Albert’s current bio:

      Professor Albert Zijlstra
      Astronomy and Astrophysics Theory Group, Department of Physics & Astronomy, University of Manchester.
      Author of hundreds of published papers and research articles.

      We (VC) are truly privileged to be able to have regular access to him (as well as Carl and the many other fine professional contributors).

      • Oooooooooo boiiii
        Well, that is some slightly heavy bio, yep.
        Didn’t expect that 😮

        Thank you Craig for posting, absolutely didn’t know that. But ya, explains much.

    • Very interesting article. I wonder how this summers (july 2021) floods in ardennes/eifel region compare with the Magdelena floods. It hit roughly the same area, only a bit west of the Magdelena floods.
      I was in the ardennes at that time and I’ve never seen it rain that much. It was extremely close too a much bigger disaster than it currently is. At one point the mayor of Liege was live on tv litteraly saying run for the hills. The Meuse river beat it’s record winter flood level.

      • +/- 200km, +/-650 years, just two similar events.

        Those in 1342 do not have a rich country to help them.

    • Just so my question doesn’t sound insulting: I know that the fundamental statements are correct and no joke 🙂 But how did you come to write that article? I had to chuckle a few times when reading, especially upon the variety of words where one can put cat or dog in xD
      Thank you very much, really!

      • I was thinking about Katla’s uncertain eruptions below the ice, and remembered a story about quantum dragons. The ‘kat’ in katla suggested the link. After that it wrote itself

  3. I had to endure a sleepless night over this topic. Is a VEI 12 even possible?, maybe a 9 or 10 but a 12 ? . My thought was what makes a system so explosive. Location ? size of magma chambers? the recharge rate of the system and the type of magma.
    I’m defo not an expert here but it’s just my thoughts.
    To me a explosion of that magnitude would have to involve huge amount of gases or a large amount of water.
    Are there any systems like that in the Pacific? A submarine volcano, the size of Yellostone or bigger and under water. This surely would have to be a good contender. I know there are some deep volcanic systems in the middle of that Ocean.

    • The article is using Tallis’ VSI scale…somewhat fictional but appropo.
      Check out the VC archives for the original articles.

    • VEI 12 would be 100 million km3 of magma. I think you could only ever possibly get that much magma in one place if it was basalt, unless you melted an entire continent from below. But really I think in real life the only case could be if a planet self-melted in its formation. In terms of normal volcanism it could get up to maybe VEI 10 for basaltic eruptions and VEI 9 for silicic. VEI 9 seems likely plausible on our planet with its abundant silicic crust, but flood basalts of the above scale probably need a stagnant crust planet to be able to get the volumes involved, Venus vs Earth for example. Volcanism during supercontinent breakup might be of Venusian scale though,.

  4. This is probably a dumb question, but I’ve tried hard to find the answer, and no luck so far.

    It’s about magma vs. lava. I used to think that the definition of lava was magma that had reached the surface. Hence, even if it goes back underground, it’s still lava (hence, lava tube rather than magma tube).

    However, what happens hen a lava lake (thus, lava) drains into an underground conduit, such as Kilauea did in 2018 in the ERZ. The USGS usage usually, but not always, calls that magma in the conduit, even when it was coming from the draining lava lake. So, did the lava get redefined back to magma in that instance?

    • 2018 Kilauea lava was mostly original, maybe only a small fraction of a percent was previously in the lake up at Halemaumau and rather more than that was deep sourced olivine rich basalt that had never been near the surface. I think the idea of it being degased magma erupting was the lack of high fountaining but that primarily was due to the large diameter of the vent not the gas content. Lava is basically all lava styrofoam around Ahu’aila’au.

      In saying that, I think that lava lakes draining into shallow surface cracks do return to being magma again, but if a lava flow goes back into a ground crack and flows out somewhere else that is not considered as magma or a new vent. For example the lava in 2014 that flowed to Pahoa went part of the way in a ground crack but that was never renamed as magma, but in 1840 lava from Kilaueas summit lake drained back into the magma chamber and broke from the conduit near Alae crater (Mauna Ulu) at shallow depth through the same area and that was called magma. Even better example in 1823, where the lake directly drained into shallow ground cracks in the southwest rift to erupt 30 km away down near Pahala, that is still an ‘eruption’ even though an observer up at the summit would have literally seen lava flowing back down a hole in the side of the caldera.
      Nyiragongo is exactly the same as above, lava lake leaking through the cone. I guess a large lava lake is basically the same thing as a magma chamber just exposed to the surface, that could be the definition they use.

      Basically, lake draining into ground cracks does count as magma again, but if lava flowing on the surface drains into a ground crack it is called a rootless dike, and still considered ‘lava’. It is a bit pedantic really.

      • Thanks Chad!

        That makes it clearer, and I see the definition now. To be honest, I was wondering if USGS had it wrong, like when they named the 2018 vents “fissures”.

        However, you’ve said something else I was unaware of; the lava that drained from Halemaumau was only a small fraction of a percent. So, did the erupted magma that had never been near the surface exceed the lava lake in volume by that much, or did the lava from the lava lake mostly not make it to Puna?

        • The volume of the lava in the conduit going up to the lava lake was maybe at most 100 million m3, and was probably quite a bit less, the lake itself was around 20 million m3 at most. The volume of lava erupted in total was about 1.5 km3, and the volume of magma that was removed from the chamber was about 1 km3, so basically most of the magma was not part of the lake.
          I guess it was more like a few percent, not a fraction of a percent, but basically makes no real difference. The lake lava would have just been mixed into the rest of the magma too, there would have been no easy way to know with that little amount. It also could well be possible none of the lake lava erupted in Puna, the chamber only drained by about 15-20% of its total volume.

          2018 was fed by a dike that started from a magma chamber that was a bit west of highway 130, which is where steam vents opened, it was not fed from Pu’u O’o directly as is often stated, which was fed from a magma chamber directly west of it around Makaopuhi and Napau craters, whic hare both big enough that I think would be called full calderas if they were on their own. Magma chambers on Kilauea are marked by either collapse craters or by lava shields. The main deeper magma chamber that is broadly under the summit, that has got two open conduits that go far down the rifts, and connect intermitently to the magma chambers in the ERZ. Maybe some small amount of magma (~10%) is also directly fed from below through the crystal mush to the ERZ chambers too, but not enough to make them erupt separately very often or at all. Kilauea is a very complex volcano, it is more like 10 connected volcanoes.

          • Ah! I was under an evidently badly-mistaken impression that magma from the lake was clearly detected shortly after the andesite was seen at one of the vents. But, no, turns out I misread it – it was “magma from the summit” so would include the magma chamber.

            PuUoOo not being in the path to Puna in 2018 clears up a mystery for me; I’ve long wondered why PuuOo collapsed if magma was invading its plumbing in massive volumes.

            I see your point on Kilauea’s complexity. That complexity probably (guessing here) explains its very varied eruptive history.

          • Pu’u O’o collapsed because of the same reason it collapsed in 1997 and 2011, there was an intrusion directly uprift that removed all the pressure. 1997 was an intrusion down from Makaopuhi that erupted, 2011 was bigger and involved the chambers under both Makaopuhi and Napau being ruptured, as well as the magma chamber in formation under Pu’u O’o. 2018 seemed to be the same as 2011, maybe a bit further east overall, and likely would have been a similar eruption as 2011, except on the same day the much bigger and completely different dike further east broke out and took all the pressure off the whole thing which lead to the whole conduit to Pu’u O’o emptying and caving in. Then the south flank slid down, and the summit was able to flood out too.

  5. What do we know about the 1755 and 1721 VEI 5 (according to Smithsonian GVP) eruptions of Katla? Those are two fairly huge eruptions in a short span of time, and I don’t think I’ve ever read anything about them.

    Is Iceland the only location where you can have very large eruptions in a short timespan from the same system? Only other I can think of is Taal, which of course is its own beast.

    • What I gather is a lot of Katla eruptions are fairly long, sort of like Eyjafjallajokull in 2010 but bigger. Not always, but maybe it is more VEI 4 intensity than a real 5 in many cases. Iceland though is definitely not the -only- place this can happen, if one looks at DRE values a subglacial VEI 5 in Iceland might be more like 0.3 km3 of magma at the base case. Mauna Loa had eruptions in 1855, 1859, 1868, 1877 and 1880 of equal or greater volume to this along with a comparable volume of summit caldera filling at the same time. Kilauea had two eruptions over 1 km3 in a single decade, and of course Pu’u O’o was at least 0.1 km3 (VEI 4 DRE) every single year for 36 years, followed by a VEI 5 equivalent volume eruption.
      Then there is Dubbi volcano in Eritrea. 1861-1863 it had a 1.5 km3 basaltic fissure eruption, a rhyolitic plinian eruption, lateral blast, and another even bigger basaltic eruption, in that order… only 2 years. Im sure there are many more examples too, but VEI 4-5 eruptions are not so big that productive centers cant do multiple in the span of a couple decades. It is just that they dont happen constantly, so are often the biggest eruption in a given year.

      • Thanks Chad!

        I know Hawaii in terms of volume is tremendous, was thinking more in terms of explosive, plinian eruptions when making my comment but I should have specified.

        But that makes sense and I appreciate the info! So they may have been lower intensity but longer duration, interesting.

        Wondering what Katla will have in store when she finally wakes up.

        I’ve been fortunate enough to see Myrdalsjokull up close; absolutely beautiful area.

        • In fact my wife and I have been to Iceland three times since 2017. Saw Ellafjallajokull, Snaefellsjokull, Myrdalsjokull, Langjokull, and Hekla up close. Have stood on top of Langjokull during an incredible ice cave tour.

          One of the most beautiful countries on earth.

      • Put Hawaii there because Iceland is more comparable to that than it is to most subduction zones. I think really if there was no ice there would be almost no fully explosive eruptions in Iceland, even Hekla is mostly effusive just likes to start off with a bang 🙂

        Not VEI 5s but both Manam and Ulawun have done multiple VEI 4s in the 21st century. Shevluch in Kamchatka also has done quite a lot of sizable eruptions, it is, it does have the honour of the most VEI 4 eruptions of any in the Holocene, though it also has not erupted anything bigger than a 5 so might cancel out. St Helens did do 2 VEI 5s in a couple of years once I think but that might be a bit of a freak event.

    • Some about Katla:
      There is a general interest in Katla because she is and has been regarded as a very dangerous volcano by generations of Icelanders.
      The presentation of Katla in media is skewered by vested interests ranging from scientists who hope to increase their professional and/or public standing, people trying to cash in on the interest generated such as journalists and bloggers, and finally, there are people trying to increase their standing within the subculture of doomsaying and alarmism.
      Katla is a massive but relatively young volcano, located on the MAR, and formed when Iceland was covered by glaciers.
      The records include two large fissure eruptions on the NE flank of Katla; the prehistoric 5 km3 Hólmsá Fires of 5550 BC and ~22 km3 Eldgjá eruption in 934 AD. In historic times, the 1100 years or so that Iceland has been settled, there have been 27 listed eruptions (28 if the inferred minor subglacial 2011 eruption is included), 23 of which have been explosive.
      Of the 23 explosive eruptions, three have been assigned VEI 3, thirteen VEI 4 and four VEI 5.
      The four VEI 5 eruptions are remarkably alike in size at 1.2 – 1.5 km3, which is at the upper end of what Katla probably is able to do but at the very lower end of VEI 5 eruptions.
      Tephrochronology (in some cases complemented by radiocarbon dating) has identified a further 103 eruptions going back ~8,500 years, and in the few cases where a VEI has been assigned, none have been greater than a VEI 4.
      Katla does not possess a caldera-sized magma chamber.
      In order to account for the great number of explosive eruptions which involve more evolved magmas, Katla could have more than a single magma chamber.
      The available evidence suggests that in order to break through the up to 700 meters thick Mýrdalsjökull glacier, an eruption must be at least a substantial VEI 3.
      Direct and (primarily) indirect evidence suggests that smaller eruptions, mainly basaltic VEI 0 – 2 eruptions are severely underrepresented in her eruptive record and ought to exceed the number of observed eruption.

      • I’d love to see a graphic showing a comparison of all the Icelandic magma chambers or a least some kind of list to see what volume they could hold.

        Though I suspect this isn’t possible based on the limited data that’s out there.

  6. When considering the effects of a future high impact VSI – or VEI – eruption, it is so many aspects of modern life that would be affected that it might be a “let’s not bother to prepare on a grand scale scenario”. The entirety of aspects involved would be mind-boggeling. Food is mentioned, water, pollution, cooling aso, but the fact is that we don’t even know if we could communicate like today with a volcanic 3-5 deg. C. cooling event lasting like the 536 CE (or bigger) event. Would satellites work still? Would solarpanels produce what we rely on? What about regional impacts on windpower? On gas-turbines? Transportation regionally? Aviation? Food supply? Electricity? There is SO much to consider I think “don’t look up” would be an understatement.

    Let us imagine a Laki and a 536 CE event (or larger) fairly simultainiously (or maybe not). We are definitely not prepared. Look at things. We live in a profit-driven world, shorter and shorter-term based. Every aspect of life has become a source of profit, either we like it or not. To different extent in different countries, but that is where we are at. Fuelling those already richest, povering and further endebting huge states and unions. And it does not seem to be changing anytime soon. So the impact would be difficult to imagine. And up to fairly few to prepare for. But how can you? It can happen soon, but it can also not happen in a long time. Even the massive cold-war preparations in the 1950-1980’s wore off.

    So to prepare now, for something that might/might not happen in an x-timeframe is lottery. And terrible on ones children on small-scale preparedness. If nothing happens. I believe we live better lives not beeing on a steady alert from whatever is todays served “dish” from the media. Though this isn’t fortuneately.

    Beeing – somewhat – knowledgeable about the effects and to know what steps to make in the event of a massive volcanic eruption is something eniterely different. Let’s consider Tonga for a moment; even IF that would have been an event like mentioned above in a similar remote location (it wasn’t) would shops have been empty on day one? No. Volcanic events are treated as “local” events. Every time. Untill the opposite is proven correct.It would take time to raise focus in todays crazed media-reality. And what a “feast” it would be in terms of conspiracies. 😀

    Would most of the VC-community still be able to start to make preparations early? Yes. So. there you have it. Follow VC and you will be just fine.

    Enjoy your day!

    (sic: this comment has been made jinx-free by the powers vested in daleks, dragons, PT Barnum, Charles Ponzi and Victor Lustig (sorry, Ivar Kreuger wasn’t available)).

  7. Curious – Has anyone been to the VC bar recently? I commented out a few things there and it didn’t really look active. I only posted that one thing there instead of here because I don’t want to be “the guy who posts some of the most obnoxious people who posts random things about somewhat unrelated stuff onto there”. I only post things like volcano updates or other “volcanic curiosities” in the real world, whereas other things I will post on there now on. Or should I just post those other things here. Again, I am just a bit curious about that. (Well, this comnent has become obnoxious and long enough and unrelated to the main article here so this may be the last here).

      • Yes – that’s a dodgy beer. Too much Corona beer being sold in the VC Bar.

        • Well, luckily, I do not really drink alcohol there. I would’ve had a can of Dr. Ioto soda instead.

    • Well, that sound wrong
      I ment by “posting some of the most obnoxious, somewhat unrelated things in this comment section”.

    • I saw your post with the links to google drive papers, but I’m rather lazy; I don’t ever use anything by google on the browser I use for VC (I heavily sandbox anything intrusive or dangerous on my systems, google very much included) so, I didn’t try logging in with my fake google account (I don’t have a real one).
      (Someone with a google account cookie in their browser, though, could probably just click right through.)

      Also, one must beware when in the Volcano Cafe bar; some of the patrons have explosive dispositions (this is Volcano Cafe, so we get all kinds of volcanoes here). Have you ever seen Hekla or Katla drunk? You really don’t want to…

  8. Friday 04.02.2022 15:21:46 63.993 -19.693 0.8 km 1.7 99.0 1.3 km W of Hekla

    Quake in Hekla Klaxon

    • It seems to me that the whole cap is rising causing the edges to break/smoke. Just not enough to be measured?

      • More not enough or fast enough to see with the naked eye, but it is rising for sure. The actual measurement point is on the lava lake itself so goes up and down by over 10 peters depending on whether it is filled or not, but the whole crust is rising too, which you can see by the fact every new episode gets higher than the previous one, by about a few tens of cm a day in that area. The eastern side though has probably risen by at least several meters in the last few days, so there must have been some gradient that is now leveling out. There is no word on it but I expect the effusion rate average has increased significantly in the past week, the volcano has tried to pause unsuccessfully 3 times now and there has been lots of lava filling from the edges.

  9. C’mon Iceland! Hawaii is utterly blowing you away, you gotta do something, anything!!
    C’mooon, please get up, do something…! :/ 🙁


    • I think Pele saw all of Carls articles about the upcoming period of increased activity in Iceland and decided to show it up. 🙂

      Would like to see that swarm near Langjokull turn into something though, would bring back some competition.
      Seems Carl is quite alone here though, being that IMO consider it tectonic and they are the authority, while Carl is just a guy on the internet with a hypothesis, like the rest of us. Does seem.weird that there would be an intraplate swarm though, and in the area where two volcanic zones roughly overlap. I guess IMO cant jump to conclusions either.

      • When Fagradasfjall erupted, Carl was right – the IMO were wrong. In fact, most geologists/volcanologists have been made to look a little foolish this last year.

        Fagrad: Earthquake swarm.
        IMO: “Purely tectonic, not going to erupt.”
        Fagrad: Increase in activity plus Magma intrusion
        IMO: “Maybe their is some intrusion, eruption unlikely”.
        Fagrad: Increased intrusion etc…
        IMO: “Ok, Eruption likely, but will only last a few days and will quite small.”
        Fagrad: Activity wanes.
        IMO: “Party over, not going to erupt”.
        Fagrad: Hold my Beer

        La Palma: Earthquake Swarm.
        Geologists: “Nothing to worry about, not going to erupt”
        La Palma: One week later – BOOM!
        Geologists: “You didn’t give us enough warning!, Besides, it is only going to be small…”
        La Palma: Hold My Beer.

        • I mean, if Carl or any of us get it wrong, we just look like fools in our little circle and can move on. If IMO (or HVO, or anyone else) get it wrong lives can be at stake, so it is better for them to play it safe and go with what their data suggests. I do agree with Carl on thos one though, this swarm does seem to be a bit too persistent and in the wrong place to be tectonic, and it is inm the right place to be volcanic, though it has been a very long time since there was an eruption here, makes Fagradalsfjall look young by comparison 🙂

          • The area is part of an old (tertiary) transform zone that, before the rift jumped from Snæfellsnes to Reykjanes, worked like the SISZ today, with left lateral overall movement and N-S striking right lateral bookshelf faults. I’m with IMO on this one.

        • Don’t know about La Palma, the alert level went up pretty quick after the onset of the September 2021 swarm.

    • You know, Fagra was pretty, but still cost them some money, like for that wall i.e., monitoring.
      Eya though cost them a lot of money, cancelled flights, perished animals, bad air, destroyed roads, food loss and so on.
      So maybe you should fly there and ask them what they think. Would they like to have a Laki, Katla, Hekla, Grimsvötn eruption? Ask them.
      I’m afraid that they might find people ridiculous who scream for their danger zones to offer an eruption. For whose gain? Yours? Ours? For photographers? I sometimes wonder what they think all day long.

      • Todays society would be better capable to deal with the effects of an eruption like Laki, it was not the same as a high VEI explosive eruption. Most of the damage was from prolonged exposure to SO2 and related stuff, which is something that the residents of Hawaii deal with daily, Europe is very far from Iceland, bu that poind the concentration would be dilute, so this is a fair comparison. Peak output of Ahu’aila’au in 2018 was also of comparable rate to Laki (2500 m3/s for surges near the end of the eruption), and that didnt result in mass death on the island. Europe would be at most inconvenienced by the direct effects of an eruption like Laki today. The fact many of the effects attributed to Laki are not seen after Eldgja might be telling, it sort of happened at a really bad time, and today we are not in such a bad position as 18th century Europe was.
        All of the other eruptions would be quite local, Grimsvotn in 2011 was its biggest single eruption in a long time (millennia?), and was also as big as most Katla and Hekla eruptions too, was relatively harmless all things considered. Hekla might be a problem for livestock because of fluorine but that is also highly weather dependant, wind direction and such, and that is completely unpredictable. Else as long as you are more than 50 km away just sit back and watch the show 🙂 Carl recently wrote an article on how even a mid sized VEI 5 at Katla, which is way bigger than its Holocene average, would really only be a big problem if you were in Vik or on the ringroad east of Katla.
        Maybe only Oraefajokull would be properly disruptive on a larger scale, silicic ash is finer and would disperse around the northern hemisphere and ruin air travel for some time. Eyjafjallajokull was andesite, had similar effect, it makes for much finer ash than the basaltic ash that is typical of most Icelandic explosive eruptions, which will fall out of the atmosphere quickly.

        I think really, Fagradalsfjall probably was a net profit from tourism revenue, and even if it wasnt that is probably because of travel restrictions, 10 years ago it would have been a boom for tourism, especially in the wake of Eyjafjallajokull. Plus, the pandemic is starting to end and with it all the travel restrictions, and the area is still very much alive, Reykjanes rifting events last for decades and involve many eruptions, it is far from over yet.

  10. Albert,
    I wonder whether you’ve seen this at all (from 10/2020):
    “The Ilopango mega-eruption was successfully dated after ice core samples from Greenland were compared with samples of charred mahogany trees discovered in ash deposits around the volcano. This enabled the team of archaeologists to date the massive Ilopango volcanic explosion to the year 431 AD.”

    Which would then mean that another culprit has to be found for 540 (from 3/2019) which would be a nice idea for another good piece:
    “The identification of the 540 eruption with Ilopango is still being discussed. Timing, location, size, and lack of any other convincing competitor, all make it a plausible candidate. But it is still possible that another volcano pops up to explain the events of 540.”

  11. How do you attach photos/videos onto comments? I know how to attach links, but I have no idea about other things.

    • Zach
      You will need to get the photo to a place that will provide a URL to the photo. I use Flicker, it is not the most easy to use site.
      Create account
      Upload photo (you will have choice to make it public or private)
      Save photo
      Click on photo
      bottom right of page hit the download symbol
      I choose all sizes
      Pick the option that you want(shows several resolutions) I choose 640 Medium, click on it
      When that photo shows right click and choose copy image address, that should get you a ilink you can post here


  12. What was the unknown Japanese eruption i’ve seen a few times dotted about in the comments recently? Would like to do a bit researching on that.

  13. Reports of fresh ashfall. In Goma. What is going on with Nyiragongo?

  14. Btw, Tallis,
    I think that your father is right. Your father is older. He has seen the Sumatra- , Tohoku-, Haiti-, Iran-, Turkey-, Nepal-, Nicaragua-Earthquakes and others. If you add up the deaths you get to a considerable number. If you add up economic loss, it would be even more considerable.
    A Cascadia-Earthquake would do more damage than the eruption of Mount St. Helens did. So, concerning his lifelong experience he is proven right. The other side is a what-if. What if Campi Flegrei/Tatun/Aso/Iwo Jima/Fuji and so on – the list is long – erupted or if Tambora erupted today? This hasn’t happened, so for his life span he might be right.
    What if Yellowstone erupted? Then you would be right. Better not hope for either – no bets – no Cascadia-Earthquake, no Yellowstone eruption. Both would be equally bad for the United States, and Yellowstone would be worse, I agree.

    • So Tallis,
      we have to compare the right things.
      A tsunami of the size the Chixculub meteorite must have produced would have global implications like a VEI 7-8.
      We haven’t seen both of these, thank God.
      We have seen lots of fours and fives with dire local consequences in say the Philippines, Japan, Indonesia, the Caribbean and Middle America and also, concerning mainly nature, in Oregon. But also terrible earthquakes, sometimes with tsunamis with more disastrous local consequences, also in Italy, btw. The Indian Ocean tsunami produced more than only local havoc.

      We have seen Indonesia and the Philippines become better in dealing with volcanic eruptions. The difference is that volcanic eruptions are announced by earthquakes whereas huge earthquakes just come along and create havoc burying people in their houses or drawing them into the oceans. That’s what your father has seen in his life and also me. That’s why he says that earthquakes are worse. He lives in the present tense and his own past and memory.

      Going into volcanic history changes the viewpoint. But everything learnt from looking back is a what-if. And chances are high that there is another seaquake before an explosive VEI 7 or two VEI 6. I just read that the mountain with the fastest running lava, Nyaragongo, produced 32 deaths, and that most of them died in traffic accidents while fleeing.

      The other chapter is hurricanes and typhoons. They probably top both, earthquakes and volcanoes. The Philippines have it all.

      • I guess the question is which is worse? A disaster that kills 10,000+ every 10 or so years or a disaster that can kill 10,000,000 every 200-400 years?

    • I do hope we can make some superheavy atoms in that mass range one day. Will be hard, but then our technology will always get better, and there are probably other ways to make them. Perhaps putting heavy nuclei into a high neutron flux environment would make heavier atoms faster than they decay. A fusion reactor is just such an environment…

      Probably though huge amounts of these elements (well huge to us) are created when neutron stars collide, parts will be ejected and end up outside of the merged star before it becomes a black hole. Most of it will become elements we already know but in that sort of extreme environment I cant imagine it is impossible for some heavier elements to form in trace amounts, especially if the black hole becomes active afterwards and irradiates the surroundings with its astrophysical jet. I guess we will have to wait until one happens in the Milky Way to see.

      Supposedly Flerovium 298 and Copernicium 293 are most stable, half lives possibly in millennia. Also element 126 is the element with the highest chance of being stable beyond those already synthesized. I do hope we make some in my lifetime, or figure out a way to make more than single atoms. Maybe setting off multiple nukes in a hole deep underground in an area with abundant natural uranium, that might do it 🙂

  15. As to Iceland I recommend this photographer, beautiful work, great pictures of volcanoes, stored under mountains, aerial, water, night on his website:

    Aside from volcanoes I also appreciate the Dorset photographer Jack Lodge:

    Looking at those you think that Dorset must be the beautiful landscape in the world. On Instagram he has a beautiful series of Norway which he has done very recently.

    • Lovely Jack Lodge photos. The icy clump of trees one is at Win Green, very near where I live and a favourite walking spot. You can just see the earthworks of the round barrow on which the beech trees were planted. It’s actually in south Wiltshire due to a very wobbly county boundary but lots of people make that mistake so it’s become ingrained.

  16. Speaking of Krakatoa…

    I definitely buy into that idea that volcanoes erupt or don’t erupt out of pure pettiness.

  17. Can anyone tell me if Hunga-Tonga volcano is a rhyolitic volcano? All the signs tell me it is

  18. There is literally no evidence that, even remotely, supports the claim of Kikai-Akahoya supereruption at 7.3 ka.
    The “500 km3 DRE” seems to have came from this paper https://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/article/kazan/40/Special/40_KJ00003385750/_pdf which gives KA eruption of M8.1.
    Exactly how this magnitude was calculated and what data were used were never presented.
    The only consensual and rigorously derived volume is 70-80 km3 DRE (https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2007.05.003), comparable to Tambora, but far smaller than a supereruption.

    • The Kikai caldera (20×17) is actually larger than the caldera the LCY eruption produced(18×16), That’s some good evidence,.

      • No one defines super-eruption based on caldera size, and Kikai is a complex caldera formed through multiple large eruptions.

        And no, Yellowstone Caldera is not that small either. Even the smallest Henry’s Fork Caldera (responsible for Mesa Falls Tuff) is 29×37 km, the Island Park Caldera (responsible for HRT) is 80×65 km, and the Yellowstone Caldera (for LCT) is 45×85 km.

        The only Yellowstone system caldera which matches the size you claimed, or similar to Kikai Caldera size, is the West Thumb Caldera (10-km) and was only responsible 50km3 DRE eruption in 170kyr.

      • My bad, I thought I see LCT eruption. But still, no deposits, proximal and distal, suggest something even near VEI-8 happened at Kikai.

        • A great deal of ashfall and pyroclastic flow deposits would’ve hit the sea and quickly erode. The Akahoya eruption was a submarine eruption akin to the the recent eruption of Tonga which also left fewer surface deposits for it’s size

  19. If I look at history as a guideline for grey swan events, I quickly realise that usually there are about 2 pandemics and 2 large wars on average per century, giving us the two most likely disasters that we will.experience in our lifetime. War is unfortunately probably the next big disaster to challenge our society. Hopefully no nukes involved.

    Next to these, the two other global diasters would be a big (VEI6+) volcanic eruption and a solar storm capable of causing serious damage. These happen about once a century and we should take for granted that these two events will happen this century again.

    Black swans are more difficult to predict. But I would say AI and aliens could be part of the next big black swan event capable of disrupting our societies.

    • An unidentifyed Earth crossing Comet woud be bad too ..

      Comets haves high orbit velocities, making their Impacts more energetic than asteorid impacts

      If Chicxulub travelled at cometary speeds .. its effects woud be even much more catastrophic

      But I doubt that any killer comets or asteorids will hit the Earth soon anyway

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