Experts have been analysing the Tambora eruption of 1815 and concluded a similar eruption today would lead to chaos across the globe. Indonesia’s Tambora volcano erupted in 1815 ranked at number seven on the the Volcanic Explosivity Index (VEI) – the second highest on the scale. The Indonesia eruption was so powerful ash was thrown into the atmosphere, darkening the planet for several years, with 1816 becoming known as ‘The Year Without a Summer’.
Temperatures across Europe plummeted by 3.5 degrees Celsius, leading to food shortages and famine.
If a volcano similar to Tambora, such as Yellowstone in the US and Campi Flegrei in Italy, erupted it would plunge the world into political chaos.
Bryan Walsh, author of the new book End Times, which looks at the existential threats which plague our planet, wrote in his new book: “What Tambora and other eruptions of its class teach us is that volcanoes can have global effects, ones that continue well after the volcano itself has fallen silent.
“A volcanic change to the climate can cause starvation, massive refugee flows, even political revolts.
“We can’t prevent a volcano from erupting – at least not yet.”
Mr Walsh later said: “Sooner or later – and on a geologic timescale at least, much sooner – we will face a super eruption.
“Yet of all the risks we’ll explore in this book, natural and man-made, it is the one for which we’ve done the least to prepare.
“Volcanoes have caused mass extinctions on this planet before. In fact, they are the serial killers of life.”
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The USGS continued: “Such eruptions usually form calderas, broad volcanic depressions created as the ground surface collapses as a result of withdrawal of partially molten rock (magma) below.”
A 2017 study from Jonathan Rougier, a professor of statistical science at the University of Bristol, found that a super-eruption occurs roughly every 17,000 years.
The last super-eruption came 26,000 years ago, when Taupo, located in New Zealand’s North Island, burst into life shoving 1200 cubic km of pumice and ash into the atmosphere.
By Prof Rougier’s reasoning, we are overdue a super-eruption, and he said we are “slightly lucky not to experience any”.
Other studies, such as a 2005 research paper from the British Geological Survey, conclude that a super-eruption only occurs every 100,000 years or so.