|VEI 10 eruption|
The volcano's lava 100 miles from the vent. This lava flow is only just starting to form a skin of rock.
|Date||September 13, 2024|
|Eruption type||Ultra Plinian/flood eruption|
|Damages||$1.2 trillion (2024 USD)|
|Other impacts||Pyroclastic flows of over 5,500°F|
The eruption was triggered when massive amounts of compressed komatiite from the core of the Earth piled into a underground volcano. Volcanologists first noticed the ground rising in 2019, and immediately knew something was very wrong. On January 7th, 2020, an earthquake with a magnitude of 8.3 struck Missoula, Montana, killing 57 people. At first, nobody attributed it to volcanic activity. Then, on Christmas in 2021, another earthquake struck Great Falls, Montana, measuring 7.8 on the Richter scale. This quake was followed by the emission of sulfur dioxide out of a field in Helena. On February 6th, 2022, a fissure opened up in the same area, spewing fountains of lava hundreds of feet up, and building a large andesite cinder cone, which was named Mount Doom. By October of 2024, Mount Doom was more than a mile high, and 10 miles across, spewing lava 240 feet into the air. But the large height of the mountain was not just because of the lava emitted. The ground had been continuing to swell, and by now, it had risen by a half mile. Earthquakes continued on Halloween, with them happening 100 times every day during the week leading up to the mega eruption. Finally, on September 13, 2024, at 0153 GMT, it happened!
The eruption was a VEI 10 Ultra Plinian eruption reaching a staggering 200 miles out into space. Lava of over 5,500°F spewed out of fissures on the south side of the volcano, scorching the landscape and destroying everything in its path. As many as 1.2 billion people have died from this super eruption, the death toll is far from over however as the volcano's eruption lasted more than a month. The volcano also triggered Magnitude 9.7 earthquakes in the immediate area, which would last for 11 days or longer. Superheated pyroclastic flows approaching 5,500°F cascaded down and persisted for thousands of miles, wiping the entire state of Montana off the face of the earth! Even the International Space Station was destroyed by the ash plume, as well as many hundred satellites, resulting in a Kessler Syndrome catastrophe.
After it was all over, the underground volcano collapsed on itself, creating a huge caldera 110 miles across, and 4 miles deep. This eruption lowered the whole world's average temperature by 16°F, bringing global temperatures down to 43°F. Smaller explosions of about VEI 4 and 3 continued for about 10 years after the mega eruption, with a persistent komatiite lava lake forming about 2 years after the eruption, still present today. This eruption was the first known komatiite eruption in recorded history, and the first known VEI 10 eruption ever to have occurred.
As much as 15% of all life on earth went extinct over the course of the eruption and the following ice age. Only the eruption of the Siberian traps, 250 million years ago, was larger than this mega eruption.