help_outline Skip to main content
HomeCalendarScience and Ideas Group: Volcanic Super-Eruptions and Yellowstone

Calendar - Event View

This is the "Event Detail" view, showing all available information for this event. If the event has passed, click the "Event Report" button to read a report and view photos that were uploaded.

Science and Ideas Group: Volcanic Super-Eruptions and Yellowstone

Thursday, September 8, 2022, 3:00 PM until 4:30 PM
Additional Info:
Event Contact(s):
Joseph D Evinger
Interest Group
Registration is recommended
Payment In Full In Advance Only
No Fee


RSVP:  Joseph Evinger (

When: Every 2nd Thursday of the month, 3:00-4:30 pm

Where: Zoom

Meeting ID: 848 0146 1083
Passcode: science

Dial by your location
        +1 669 900 9128
Meeting ID: 848 0146 1083 

Open to: All

Science and Ideas Group

Volcanic Super-Eruptions and Yellowstone

Professor Stephen Self

Earth and Planetary Science Dept

University of California, Berkeley

Talk summary:

Every now and again, Earth suffers from tremendous explosive volcanic eruptions, much bigger than those witnessed in modern times, which have a truly global impact.  Although the return period for such events is long, perhaps every 20-100,000 years, it is more likely that Earth will next experience a super-eruption (defined here as one producing > ~ 400 km3 of magma) than a large meteorite impact.  

Depending on where the volcano is located, the effects of such an event will be felt world-wide, or at least by a whole hemisphere, and the associated phenomena will spread quickly within a couple of weeks.  These effects include temporary darkness with loss, or severe reduction, of solar radiation reaching the surface, unseasonable cooling and warming, coupled with strange weather patterns, and, of course, widespread ash fallout.  Major disruptions of all services that our present society depends on can be expected for periods of months, to even a few years.

Past explosive super-eruptions, including the latest huge one, the Toba event in Sumatra 74,000 years ago, will be discussed. We will put the likely risk of another great eruption at Yellowstone into its proper scientific perspective. We must ask: Is our global society ready for the next explosive super-eruption? 

Professor Stephen Self:  Steve has studied volcanic rocks in many parts of the world, concentrating on large (flood) lava effusions, explosive eruptions, and the impact of volcanism on the atmosphere.  His current research interests include mechanisms and products of flood basalt and explosive super-eruptions plus several other projects (see  He has published and lectured widely on the impact of large-scale volcanic eruptions on the environment and society, relevant to both our present and future world, and past Earth history.  Steve lives in Alameda, California, and retired in 2018 from his position as Senior Geologist/Volcanologist with the US-Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Steve is a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union, the Geological Society of America, and the Geological Society (London).  He is pictured in 2019 at Stonehenge in England.