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Humanity is absolutely not ready for the next supervolcano eruption

Humanity is absolutely not ready for the next supervolcano eruption

(ORDO NEWS) — Even if we manage to avoid self-destruction as a result of another world war or climate change, there are many other existential threats for which we should prepare.

Most often you can hear that an asteroid will fly to us from space, so humanity began to prepare for this event, developing monitoring systems, because we do not want to end up like dinosaurs.

But in a recent study published in the journal Nature, experts say the asteroid hazard has overshadowed one that is far more likely: “Over the next century, large-scale volcanic eruptions are hundreds of times more likely to hit than asteroids and comets combined.” “.

Governments and space corporations spend hundreds of millions of dollars annually on planetary defense. For example, NASA‘s DART mission to test the technology to change the orbit of an asteroid, which will occur as early as October, cost about $330 million.

It’s a small price to pay considering this technology could save us from being killed by an asteroid in the future, but scientists see the problem that there isn’t a comparable investment to prepare for super-eruptions.

Volcanoes, unlike asteroids, are already here on Earth. They are not just scattered all over the planet, but are often surrounded by picturesque landscapes that hide their destructive potential.

According to the US Geological Survey, the last super eruption occurred about 22,000 years ago, and their frequency averages about every 15,000 years, which means that we may well be living at a time when a new super eruption could occur.

The last sufficiently strong eruption, which did not receive the prefix “super”, with a magnitude of 7, occurred in 1815 on the Tambora volcano in Indonesia.

Then about 100,000 people died, and the ash and dust thrown into the atmosphere lowered the global temperature by an average of about 1 degree Celsius, so the next year went down in history as the “Year without summer”, followed by crop failures and, as a result, famine, outbreaks disease and violence.

Yes, monitoring of volcanic activity has improved since then, as has our ability to mobilize global support for disaster relief, but that may (most likely will) not be enough to offset all the risks we now face.

Since the early 1800s, the world’s population has increased eightfold, and some large urban areas have flourished near dangerous volcanoes.

The globalization of various processes, including trade, has led to a common development, but can become a problem, since shocks in one part of the planet can cause food shortages and other crises in others.

In a 2021 study based on ancient ice core data, scientists found that the intervals between powerful eruptions are hundreds and even thousands of years shorter than previously thought.

Experts say more such studies are needed, as well as interdisciplinary work to develop tools to monitor and predict impacts by identifying risks to trade, agriculture, energy and infrastructure, and warning.

In general, according to scientists, humanity today is completely unprepared for this danger.


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