Volcano apocalypse: How mega-eruption could out blot and sky and cause ‘volcanic winter’

And this terrifying scenario has already played out once in the past, according to a terrifying theory. The Toba super-eruption 74,000 years ago plunged the world into a global winter which lasted for decades, in what is likely the most devastating eruption the human race has ever experienced. When Toba, located in Sumatra, Indonesia, erupted, 2,800 cubic km of material ejected into the atmosphere.

This caused an ash cloud to spread across the globe, causing temperatures to drop by 5C for ten years, according to geologist Michael Rampino and volcanologist Stephen Self.

While temperatures began to slowly pick up, it is believed the eruption could have caused a dip in temperature lasting up to 1,000 years.

In 1993, science journalist Ann Gibbons theorised the eruption caused a “population bottleneck”, where the population massively diminishes for a period of time due to an environmental event.

Now, experts are warning it could happen again.

Bryan Walsh, author of the new book End Times, which looks at the existential threats which plague our planet, believes Toba could one day erupt again – and it will not be good news for us.

Mr Walsh wrote: “What happened after Toba could happen again – ash and sulphur from a supereruption would reach the stratosphere, and depending on the location of the volcano and its strength, it could spread across the globe, blocking incoming sunlight and casting the world into a winter.”

A mega volcano eruption on this scale could lead to global food shortages and have “catastrophic consequences”, according to a study.

In 2005, a team of British scientists released the research paper: ‘Super-eruptions: Global effects and future threats.”

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“An eruption of this size would have catastrophic consequences. Many millions of lives throughout most of Asia would be threatened if Toba erupted today.

“The UK might not receive any ash fall directly, but it would be affected by the impact on global economic and political stability, as well as by worldwide climatic effects.”

However, the study does say a supereruption such as Toba will only impact the Earth every 100,000 years or so.


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