How large can an explosive volcanic eruption get?



How large can an explosive volcanic eruption get?

In: Earth Science

We don’t know. But we know of a super volcano under the Yellowstone. And we know that the Deccan Traps have are big enough to be a possible explanation for K-T extinction that more or less removed 3/4 of life on Earth. And of the Siberian traps that were even larger and could have been the cause of the even greater dying in the P-T extinction.

They measure how powerful volcanic eruptions are in terms of the amount of material expelled. On this scale, Mount St Helens in 1980 expelled around 5 cubic kilometres of material. The last Yellowstone eruption 640,000 years ago is estimated to have ejected 1000 cubic kilometres, e.g. 200 times larger, and that’s by no means the largest in history–the absolute largest are approaching 10,000 cubic kilometres.

I think one of the largest on record, is Mt. Tambora that erupted with a total force of 800 megatons. That’s 16 Tsar Bomba’s. It spewed so much ash in the atmosphere, that we went a year without a summer since the sunlight was obscured.

Also, Mt.Krakatoa exploded with a force of 400 megatons at once which caused a sound so loud, that if it had happened in Tehran, you’d have heard it in Paris.

So, that.