Yellowstone: Bugging Out When It Finally Goes

This whole website is about preparing for scary and dangerous situations. Even with that being the case, I try to keep it positive. The bright side of prepping is that you’re prepared. When you know you’re prepared, you can relax. You know that whatever comes, you’ve got a plan. You can keep your cool and you’ll continue your life. With this in mind, there are few situations that will radically change life as we know it. Those situations are pretty unlikely. The chance of a Hollywood style disaster sending the world into chaos is extremely low, everywhere except for Yellowstone. 

This is why Yellowstone scares the hell out of me.

Potential aftermath of a Yellowstone eruption.

Yellowstone: The Numbers

On average, Yellowstone catastrophically erupts about every 690 thousand years. It’s been 630 thousand since the last one. That puts us well within the range of another “big one” at any time. It’s worth noting that we don’t have a ton of data on this, and we can’t predict when eruptions will happen. But these numbers are close enough to keep me worried. I live in the midwest, Yellowstone is in Wyoming. If it’s halfway across the country, why am I concerned?

What Is A Supervolcano?

I’ve seen it very eloquently put: Volcanoes make mountains, supervolcanoes erase them. Most people are familiar with the Mount Saint Helens eruption. It’s the most well known US example of a volcano.

The last time Yellowstone erupted, it was 4000 times bigger than that. Projections put the survival rate in Wyoming at next to 0 if it were to go. While it’s true that the most violent threat of a volcano is it’s debris and lava, the ash is the most far-reaching. The entire western US would likely feel the shaking from the eruption. There isn’t a part of the world that wouldn’t feel the ash.

The Last Supervolcano

The last time a supervolcano erupted it was around 70,000 years ago. This is known as the Toba supervolcano in Sumatra, Indonesia. We weren’t there at the time but evidence from the environment shows devastation. Scientists believe that the eruption caused a “volcanic winter” effect. This effect blocked out the sun for 6 to 8 years. To the wildlife afoot, this must have truly looked like the end of days.

Yellowstone: What Can You Do?

The point of this site is preparation. All this doom and gloom is meaningless worrying unless we can put it to good use. The possibility of a supervolcano eruption should do a few things. For starters, it should bring some humility. There are so many massive  things in the world that are out of everyone’s control.

On the other hand, some things are in our control. We can take it into our own hands to be as ready as possible for these massive disasters. By taking our fate into our own hands we can relax. We can rest assured in our knowledge that we’ve done what we can. What exactly can you do?

For starters, if you live within the blast zone of this disaster, you need an exit strategy. For a lot of people living close to Yellowstone, there’s nothing to be done but move. Disasters like this are huge and happen quickly. Within a certain range, destruction is inevitable.

That said, if you’re anywhere within the larger ash zones, you’ll have a chance to flee. If the big one goes, there will be a mass exodus. Many people will successfully get away from the brunt of the disaster. This explosion will shake the world, but life will continue. Being a refugee in a state you’ve never been to is a whole lot better than being part of Pompeii part two. 

The Supplies

On top of this plan, you can make sure that you’ve got the supplies to keep going as you escape. You may be stuck in your car, or even on foot with a bag for days or weeks. If you have emergency rations and supplies, you’ll be able to keep trucking along to safety.

Air masks and respirators will be the absolute most important piece of gear you have. The second this event hits, they’ll be impossible to find. The world’s production won’t level out on these for years. If you make sure you’ve got enough masks for you and your family, you’ll be in a much better position. 

The prep for this event isn’t much different from the prep for other major disasters. The real piece of knowledge to take away from this is just the possibility that it’ll happen. Most people know that a hurricane or a tornado could throw their world around at any time. The fact that there is a massive supervolcano under America’s most beloved park is shockingly less well known.

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