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Hollywood Disaster Project: Supervolcanic Eruption Effects 2012 (Yellowstone Eruption)

Belkis Villa
Rita Anderson
Nhu Nguyen
Austin Whittle
Liliana Sevilla

Geography 1700

Professor: Christopher Bradbury

June 7, 2018

One of the many dramatic natural disasters that occur in the movie 2012 is the eruption of

the Yellowstone super volcano. In the movie, our protagonist travels to Yellowstone park and

while there experiences a few minor tremors that lead up to a massive apocalyptic explosion. The

explosion is enormous-looking like that of a nuclear bomb, and sends chunks of rock shooting

out across the sky. The explosion is massive and spreads for miles, killing everything in its path

and the main family barely escapes. The eruption is clearly meant to be a dramatization- the

eruption is portrayed like a nuclear explosion- but the real effects of a supervolcanic eruption

could be just as devastating, albeit different from the one in the movie.
Yellowstone National Park is best known for its Old Faithful geyser and its stunning

wildlife. But the national park also sits atop a super volcano. We can see the evidence of its

active state in the hydrothermal activity that bubbles up. The caldera is a volcanic feature formed

by the collapse of a volcano into itself, making it a large, special form of volcanic crater. When

we watched the movie it did not show the caldera collapse, when a caldera collapses, it is usually

triggered by the emptying of the magma chamber beneath the volcano, as the result of a large

volcanic eruption. If enough magma is ejected, chamber will not be able to support the weight of

the volcanic edifice. That part in the movie sat a little unrealistic because we did not see any

magma or gas and ash erupt from the volcano.

Definitely, every person knows that the impact of ash columns from volcanoes is huge. In

volcanic eruptions, the ash column can grow up to several kilometers, affecting a large radius

area. According to the authors, the diameter of these dust particles may consist of fine glass

beads, less than two micrometers. Moreover, the scientists can identify the chemical components

depending on size or amount of magna. In ash, dusts can contain quite a lot of Silicon, Iron,

Magnesium, and so on. Major gases produced during active volcanic activity are carbon dioxide,

sulfur dioxide, hydrogen, hydrogen sulfide, carbon monoxide and hydrogen chloride. They have

different effects but most are harmful to human health if someone is exposed. However, the

ominous thing is that volcanic ash has a very high dispersion rate. Longitudinal dispersion is

influenced by strong winds and ash that can deposit from hundreds to thousands of kilometers

from the volcanic site. Additionally, the toxic gases from the eruption of the volcano when

inhaled into the body can go into the periphery of the lungs and cause problems with breathing,

especially, the most worrying for people with asthma or respiratory diseases. Based on the

research of Longo, B. M., & Longo, A. A., during the eruption, the toxicity becomes stronger by
the dispersion the acidic gases in the volcanic ash causing many infectious diseases through the

air. For example, the chronic respiration effects are silicosis, from exposure to particles of free

crystalline silica. Minerals that are associated with silicosis include quartz, cristobalite, and

tridymite, all potentially present in volcanic ash. The capacities of the immune system also

diminish. It is very likely, given how close the people in the movie are to the eruptive crater and

the sudden inhalation of hot volcanic ash, gases and other materials, the victims would go into

cardiopulmonary arrest due to their lungs being overwhelmed by the sudden quantity. According

to a new study by Lombardo, burns, phobia, and fragmentation could have likely caused shock,

causing cardiac arrest and death come ischemic heart and myocardial infarction.

A investigation made by the University of Cambridge Clinical School in 2005 shows the

impacts on buildings of three pyroclastic surges that struck three separate villages on 25 June, 21

September and 26 December, 1997, during the course of the andesitic dome building eruption of

the Soufrière Hills Volcano, Montserrat, which began on 18 July, 1995. A detailed analysis of the

building damage of the 26 December event was used to compare the findings on the flow and

behavior of dilute pyroclastic density currents (PDCs) with the classical reports of PDCs from

historical eruptions of similar size. The main characteristics of the PDC, as inferred from the

building damage, were the lateral loading and directionality of the current; the impacts

corresponded to the dynamic pressure of the PDC, with a relatively slow rate of rising and

without the peak overpressure or a shock front associated with explosive blast; and the

entrainment of missiles and ground materials which greatly added to the destructiveness of the

PDC. The high temperature of the ash, causing the rapid ignition of furniture and other

combustibles, was a major cause of damage even where the dynamic pressure was low at the

periphery of the current. The vulnerability of buildings lay in the openings, mainly windows,
which allowed the current to enter the building envelope, and in the flammable contents, as well

as the lack of resistance to the intense heat and dynamic pressure of some types of vernacular

building construction, such as wooden chattel houses, rubble masonry walls and galvanised steel-

sheet roofs. Marked variability in the level of damage due to dynamic pressure was evident

throughout most of the impact area, except for the zone of total loss, and this was attributable to

the effects of topography and sheltering, and projectiles, and probably localised variations in

current velocity and density. A marked velocity gradient existed from the outer part to the central

axis of the PDC, where buildings and vegetation were razed to the ground. The gradient

correlated with the impacts due to lateral loading and heat transfer, as well as the size of the

projectiles, whilst the temperature of the ash in the undiluted PDC was probably uniform across

the impact area.

Climate change is happening now and all over the United States, and as the world is

warming global sea level is rising, and some types of extreme weather events are becoming more

frequent and more severe. These changes have already resulted in a wide range of impacts across

every region of the country and many sectors of the economy would be affected for that reason.

Climate change is any significant long term change in the expected pattern of average weather of

region or the whole world Earth, as well as abnormal variations to the climate, and the effects of

these variations on other parts of the Earth. Evidence collected from differents institutions

scientist and engineers from around the world confirm an unambiguous reality the planet is

warming , and over the last half century, this warning has been occur primarily by human activity

and is affecting the american people in far reaching ways never happen before, human heath,

food security, agriculture,water supply, energy,flora, fauna, and the ecosystems. As tis impacts

become more prevalent American need to take and important decision how to be ready and
preparedness and proactively managing all the risks can reduce the impacts and cost overt the

time overcomes. There are many reasons that large volcanic eruptions have a such far reaching

effect on global climate. When volcanoes erupt, they emit a mixture of gases and particles in to

the air, and some of them, such as ash and sulphur , have a cooling effect, because they or the

substances cause reflect sunlight away from the earth. In a supervolcanic eruption, billions of

tons of ash are expelled into the atmosphere- which blocks out the sun and can reduce the global

temperature for years. In 1815 Mount Tambora in Indonesia erupted in the largest volcanic event

in recorded history. The following year was known in Europe as the year without summer, as the

ash from the eruption had cooled the planet so much that the growing season was cut in half,

with thousands of people dying of starvation from an eruption that had happened a year ago on

the other side of the world (UCAR, 2018). If Yellowstone were to erupt, something similar

would happen on an even more massive scale- billions could starve to death from the resulting

impact on the climate The Volcano de Fuego erupted about twenty seven miles from Guatemala

City on Sunday, and it is one of the most active volcanoes. Fuego is the latest to erupt, killing a

least twenty five people, and injuring hundreds more. It is considered as one of the most active

volcanoes in Central America. Will climate change lead to more volcanic eruptions? We don't

know that yet. But they are many ways the volcanoes can impact a country, region, or indeed, the

world. As the impacts of climate change become more frequent, Americans face decisions about

how to plan and respond, and by using information to prepare for climate change, and create

opportunities, and take action managing the risk that can reduce impacts and cost in the future.
References cited

Longo, B. M., & Longo, A. A. (2013, August 07). Volcanic ash in the air we breathe. Retrieved

Baxter, P.J., Boyle, R., Cole, P. et al. Bull Volcanol (2005) 67: 292.

Understand. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Onyanga-Omara, J. (2018, June 05). Death toll rises to 69 in eruption of Guatemala's Volcán de
Fuego; many victims hard to identify. Retrieved from

How do volcanoes affect the climate? (2011, February 09). Retrieved from

Mount Tambora and the Year Without a Summer. (n.d.). Retrieved from