Let me state from the beginning that this will likely never happen in our lifetime. Maybe. It is believed the the supervolcano that exists under Yellowstone National Park will one day erupt. If that happens, it would be very bad news for Missouri and I'll explain why.

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First some history. Did you know that Missouri at one point way back when had over 1,500 volcanoes? It's true. The good news is those ancient Missouri volcanoes are now dormant and probably not a threat to us. But, Yellowstone's supervolcano is.

Why would an eruption of the Yellowstone Supervolcano be a problem for Missouri?

A simulated eruption of Yellowstone would create an ash cloud that would look like this (in map form).

Infographic, Science News/USGS
Infographic, Science News/USGS

While most realize that the immediate Wyoming/Montana/Idaho region would be in the most trouble, it would create mammoth issues in states like Missouri, too. As the USGS points out, 30 millimeters of ash is heavy. If a major Yellowstone eruption of this magnitude were to occur, the ash over Missouri would be heavy enough to collapse some roofs. Terrifying.

Now for some good news. I've interviewed Mike Poland, the scientist-in-charge of the Yellowstone Volcanic Observatory. I asked him about what signs would cause him concern that an eruption was imminent. He told me that instead of a few hundred minor quakes like Yellowstone sees today, we would suddenly see thousands of quakes and massive uplift throughout Yellowstone National Park and not just a few inches every year like we see now.

The bottom line is there's no reason for immediate concern as of this writing. But, when/if Yellowstone finally has a major eruption someday, prepare for some really bad days in Missouri. It would be a crisis here like it would for the rest of the country.

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