The Yellowstone Supervolcano and how it got that way

10 December 2014, 5.30 PM - 10 December 2014, 6.30 PM

IAS Benjamin Meaker Visiting Professor Derek L. Schutt (Colorado State University)

Peel Lecture Theatre, School of Geographical Sciences, University Road, Bristol, BS8 1SS

This is an IAS Benjamin Meaker talk by Visiting Professor Derek Schutt.


By most measures, a large eruption of the magma chamber under Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, U.S., would be the most dramatic geological phenomenon in human history. Evidence from past eruptions shows ashfall features more than 1000 km from the source caldera. This knowledge, plus a little help from the movies “Supervolcano” and “2012,” has made the Yellowstone Supervolcano an object of public speculation and apocalyptic fears. Psuedoscientific websites predict the time of large eruptions and speculate on government conspiracies to cover up the truth of an imminent eruption.
In this presentation, we will delve deep into the earth to examine the fundamental cause of Yellowstone. We will see how the deep earth processes driving the Supervolcano have shaped the landscape in the region for millions of years, and then discuss what is truly known about Yellowstone and its hazards.


There will be a drinks reception it the Hepple Lecture Theatre after the talk.

Contact information

For more details about Dr Schutt's visit or this event, please contact Dr James Wookey (

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