Yellowstone National Park sits on what some scientists consider the most powerful dormant super volcano in the world. The river of fire beneath Yellowstone goes thousands of miles south, all the way to Central America. When it blows, the results will create what is called the dreaded “nuclear winter,” where the sky will be blotted out for months worldwide, causing temperatures to plummet into Ice Age-type figures. This is such a serious threat that the University of Utah, the National Park Service and the U.S. Geological Survey have teamed up to create the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory to keep track of volcanic and earthquake activity in that particular region.

The Yellowstone Caldera is what is known as a hotspot, a place of immense heat within the mantle surrounding the Earth’s core. Close to 600,000 years ago, this hotspot spewed a column of hot magma toward the surface, forming a massive magma chamber which pushed up to the surface, subsequently forming a large dome. When the pressure became so great, it exploded, creating the most violent explosion in the planet’s history.

Dangerous Ground

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, three extremely large explosive eruptions have occurred at Yellowstone in the past 2.1 million years with a recurrence interval of about 600,000 to 800,000 years. But the numbers are all over the map. Some geologists say the event won’t occur for another 100,000 years. Even so, the U.S. Geological Survey has recently set up more sensors throughout the area to measure the seismic activity and the temperatures of both land and water in the area.

In the event of an eruption, all the experts agree that two-thirds of the United States will be drastically affected. All life in a 500-mile radius of Yellowstone will be destroyed. The effects from Mount St. Helens’ eruption would be nothing compared to what will happen with this super volcano. Even the eruption of Mount Vesuvius would not come close to that of the Yellowstone Caldera’s!

There could certainly be a domino effect due to the massive power that will shake the Earth. The “Ring of Fire” in the Pacific could be affected. The Earth could shift on its axis way more than the 1-percent shift experienced during the Japanese tsunami. We could see forces of nature not experienced by mankind for more than 600,000 years!

According to research, up to 34 states would be affected, and the corrosive ash would destroy crops, combustion engines and people’s lungs. Even though this is a frightening scenario for the United States, even worse will be the dreaded nuclear winter caused by the blotting out of the sun from six months to a year. This will affect the entire planet.

Seek Shelter

To even begin to think about how to survive this monster of a natural disaster, you are going to need shelter, and it must be underground. You have the options of caves, which stay in the mid-50s above zero. You can also build an underground bunker. You can find Cold War-era fallout shelters and underground subway stations. Otherwise, you really have no chance of making it out alive, especially if you live in areas where there are no underground structures and, due to the layout of the land, none can be built.

Food will definitely be a concern. You can stock up on MREs, freeze-dried packs and canned goods in your underground home. You can also devise a grow system with both light and water to produce your own food sources.

Dr. David Epstein and wastewater engineer Kenneth Lovell have created the Biogarden, a soilless, water-recirculating system similar to what is known as hydroponics. “The difference is that instead of using chemical fertilizers, bioponics rely strictly on nutri-cycling green waste discards as the source of fertilizer for growing plants,” said Dr. David Epstein. “The Biogarden is a vertical soilless growing module for producing foods intensively with little labor utilizing bioponics.”

As you can imagine, grow lights are going to be needed along with ventilation. The Crank-A-Watt can power up small electrical appliances, cell phones, laptops, tablets, DVD players, projectors, small fridges and the new LED grow lights. Next you will need all your first-aid training and a supply of over-the-counter and prescription medications. While you should have at least a six-month supply on hand, with the Yellowstone Caldera scenario, a minimum of one year would be wise.

Make Your Escape

It goes without saying that face masks are going to be mandatory while getting to your underground area. The ash will shred your lungs. As mentioned above, standard internal combustion engines will be shredded by the corrosive, gritty ash in the air. Therefore, you’ll have to rely on your feet, a horse or a mountain bike for transportation, if you can even bear to be outdoors for any extended amount of time.

When you emerge from your shelter at the end of the nuclear winter, you are not going to have the internet, cell phone service, fast food or other restaurants or grocery stores. Survival will depend on your knowledge of self-reliance, especially farming. There will be no farm animals left unless you had the foresight to take a few into your underground shelter before the event. Get your plan ready to go now. The Yellowstone super volcano is way overdue for its next eruption.

This article was originally published in the SURVIVOR’S EDGE™ Spring 2016 issue. Subscription is available in print and digital editions here.

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