Results from a telephone survey conducted for Discovery Channel by Harris Interactive® reveal that only 22% of adults in America are aware of the term “supervolcano.” Supervolcano is a term used to describe a volcano containing a large caldera able to produce an exceedingly large, catastrophic explosive eruption, in some cases over 100 times bigger than the anything experienced by humanity over historic time. In scientific terms, a supervolcano implies a volcanic eruption of a magnitude of 8 on the Volcano Explosivity Index, meaning that more than 1,000 cubic kilometers of magma are erupted. When told that Yellowstone National Park, home of “Old Faithful,” is one of the few known examples of a supervolcano, 64 percent of adults surveyed said that they were unaware of that fact.
Clips from docudrama:
'Escape from Ashes' Clip, WMP, Large
'First Eruption' Clip, WMP, Large
Discovery Channel presents an opportunity for viewers to explore the Yellowstone supervolcano and witness for the first time a fact-based dramatic portrayal of what could happen if it erupted in SUPERVOLCANO, a two-hour docudrama premiering April 10, 8:00 – 10:00 PM (ET/PT). Immediately following the docudrama, Tom Brokaw hosts a one-hour scientific epilogue to explore the science behind a supervolcano, talk to the world’s leading experts on supervolcanoes and present research and evidence surrounding the possibilities and effects of a super-eruption.
Set in the near future, SUPERVOLCANO uses evidence from several previous eruptions at Yellowstone, as well as research from major scientific bodies, including the U.S. Geological Survey and the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory, to tell the story of what could happen. To create the docudrama, over 40 leading experts in volcanology, geology, climatology, archaeology, geography, medicine, emergency contingency, defense, agriculture and economics were consulted.
Upon hearing that scientists have determined that the history of the Yellowstone supervolcano suggests it explodes regularly, approximately every 600,000 years, and that Yellowstone National Park was formed by the last explosion, which was 640,000 years ago—making it now, by these measures, overdue—81 percent of adult Americans said they were not aware that this type of eruption underneath Yellowstone is likely to happen again. To-date, evidence points to three super-volcanic eruptions blasting through Yellowstone: 2.1 million years ago, 1.3 million years ago, and 640,000 years ago. The force of a single super-eruption at Yellowstone would be the equivalent of 1,000 Hiroshima bombs exploding every second. The fallout effects are massive, including blizzards of ash, ozone depletion, dropping temperatures, and mudflows.
Harris Interactive conducted the telephone survey among 1,013 adults 18 years of age and older. Figures were weighted demographically and the margin of error was +/- 3 percentage points. Additional details are available upon request.