Study: 240 cubic miles of magma is swirling under California supervolcano

" The long history of volcanic activity in the Long Valley area indicates that future eruptions will occur"

long valley caldera
Bureau of Land Management/Flickr

California’s Long Valley Caldera is so large that it could release over 140 cubic miles of material into the sky upon eruption, the last of which occurred some 767,000 years ago, a report says.

To give an example of just how much material that is, Mt. St. Helens blew 0.29 cubic miles material into the sky back in 1980.

The Sunday Express reports:





While the Long Valley Caldera is unlikely to blow anytime soon, the report, written by scientists from the United States Geological Survey (USGS), the University of California, and the University of Rhode Island, said: “We can conclude the mid-crustal reservoir is still melt-rich.

“We estimate the reservoir currently contains enough melt to support another super eruption comparable in size to the caldera-forming eruption at 767 ka.”

The report, published by the Geological Society of America, stresses however that there is no need to start panicking, adding: “This volume and a relatively high melt fraction in no way ensures that the magma is eruptible.”

The team used cutting-edge techniques to inspect the volcano in great detail, enabling them to reach their stunning conclusions.

The Long Valley Caldera is about 11 miles wide, 20 miles long and 3000 feet deep.

An eruption of the supervolcano is not currently expected.

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