Have you have had the privilege of visiting Yellowstone National Park? I did when I was in high school when our family spent a week vacationing in there. I caught trout in the Yellowstone River and Yellowstone Lake. We saw black bears, moose, deer, elk, bison and antelope. We also visited the many geysers, mud pots, hot springs and fumaroles. The scenery was beautiful and it was a trip that I’ve never forgotten.
What makes Yellowstone National Park so beautiful and interesting is that it sits in the middle of a supervolcano caldera that measures approximately 34 miles by 45 miles. Within that caldera, there is still quite a bit of underground volcanic activity taking place. Magma deep inside the earth is closer to the surface in the caldera than in most places. The proximity of the magma to the surface is what causes the wonderful geysers, mud pots, fumaroles and hot springs that abound within the park. It is also responsible to over 1,000 earthquakes a year, most of which are minor and not noticeable.
But things have been changing in Yellowstone for the past decade which is causing some concern. Some areas of the park have risen in elevation by nearly a foot in the past ten years. It may not sound like much, but a rise of 10-12 inches in 10 years is significant. Bob Smith, a Yellowstone expert from the University of Utah stated:
“It’s an extraordinary uplift, because it covers such a large area and the rates are so high.”
Scientists have discovered that the magma pocket that lies 4-6 miles below the surface is much larger than they thought and it is still increasing in size. The magma pocket is described as being a ‘pancake-shaped blob’ the size of Los Angeles. Last year, Smith commented about the magma pocket, saying:
“At the beginning we were concerned it could be leading up to an eruption. But once we saw [the magma] was at a depth of ten kilometers, we weren’t so concerned. If it had been at depths of two or three kilometers [one or two miles], we’d have been a lot more concerned.”
That was last year, now it seems the surface in some areas of Yellowstone are getting hotter. Firehole Lake Drive is an asphalt road that took visitors to see Firehole Lake, the Great Fountain Geyser and White Dome Geyser, that is until last week. Right in the middle of the busy tourist season, park officials had to close Firehole Lake Drive because the asphalt is melting. Park Spokesman Dan Hottle described the road as a ‘soupy mess.’
Most experts do not think a super eruption is eminent, but there are others who say that a massive supervolcanic eruption could occur within our lifetime. If it does, they say it will be 2,000 times more powerful than the eruption at Mount St. Helens. An eruption of that magnitude would be devastating to most of the United States. It would cause massive fires for hundreds, perhaps a thousand miles. The ash cloud and fallout would cover thousands of miles right across the some of the most populous sections of the country. It would also wipe out farmlands through much of the central and eastern parts of country. Millions of people will die and food will become scarce and very expensive.
Not only would it destroy much of the United States, but the massive ash cloud would cover the entire earth and would destroy crops worldwide. We could be plunged into a ‘nuclear winter’ condition that could last for years. Our entire way of life would change forever.
As I read the various reports on the Yellowstone supervolcano and what would happen if it exploded, I can’t help but think of the following verses and wonder if they could be describing the eruption of a supervolcano in modern times or if this would be the mechanism that God would use to launch His final judgment?
2 Peter 3:3-7:
“Knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. They will say, ‘Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.’ For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God, and that by means of these the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished. But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.”
And Revelation 8:7-12:
“The first angel blew his trumpet, and there followed hail and fire, mixed with blood, and these were thrown upon the earth. And a third of the earth was burned up, and a third of the trees were burned up, and all green grass was burned up.
The second angel blew his trumpet, and something like a great mountain, burning with fire, was thrown into the sea, and a third of the sea became blood. A third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed.
The third angel blew his trumpet, and a great star fell from heaven, blazing like a torch, and it fell on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water. The name of the star is Wormwood. A third of the waters became wormwood, and many people died from the water, because it had been made bitter.
The fourth angel blew his trumpet, and a third of the sun was struck, and a third of the moon, and a third of the stars, so that a third of their light might be darkened, and a third of the day might be kept from shining, and likewise a third of the night.”