“Are you worried about the end of life as we know it? Then don’t just look to the sky for that catastrophic asteroid that could be heading our way. The end may come from right beneath your feet.”
That’s how ABC News reporter Lee Dye begins his recent article titled “This Is the Way the World Ends? Volcanoes Could Darken World”—an introduction into the reality of supervolcanoes in the past and, perhaps, their threat to earth in the future.
Dye reports that “new research indicates these catastrophic eruptions, possibly thousands of times more powerful than the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens, may happen only a few hundred years after the volcanoes form.”
So, are we talking about global extinction in our lifetime?
Scientists are not predicting such a catastrophe any time soon, Dye assures us. However, geologists have apparently recalculated their findings because new research suggests supervolcanoes can erupt more rapidly than previously known.
Is this really how the world will end?
Suggesting a death-by-volcano scenario for the earth makes for great doomsday movies, but the science is not conclusive. And the study of supervolcanoes is certainly not new.
Geologist Steve Austin has been studying volcanos for four decades and gives insight into the catastrophic nature of volcanoes, both in ancient times and in present eruption events like Mount St. Helens on May 18, 1980.
“Mount St. Helens erupted one-quarter cubic mile of magma through a nozzle that day. After that, geologists coined a new word to describe colossal volcanic events—supervolcano.”
Austin also contrasted Mount St. Helens to eruptions in ancient times.
“Such nozzle eruptions are trivial compared to the ancient fissure events that created supervolcanoes, in which more than 240 cubic miles of magma were erupted. These colossal volcanoes were over a thousand times larger than Mount St. Helens. For example, Ice Age supervolcanoes such as Long Valley of California and Yellowstone in Wyoming, exploded just after the Flood.” Read Austin’s article titled “Supervolcanoes and the Mount St. Helens Eruption.”
Just what kind of scenario do you believe will bring total destruction to the earth as we know it?
To answer the question at the end, I accept II Peter 3 cited by Mike for the end of this world with a New Heavens and New Earth to come in the eternal state. However, the subject of supervolcanoes of the past I feel should be integrated with the July Acts & Facts report: An Extraterrestrial Cause for the Flood?,Acts & Facts 41(7):16, 2012, Author: Morris, J. D., Ph. D.
ICR briefly reviewed evidence for bombardment during and shortly after Noah's Flood. ICR makes it clear the biblical record in Genesis 1-11 does not speak to any meteorite or asteroid bombardment but the evidence in the fossil record is there. A classic example was discussed, Barringer Meteorite Crater in Arizona, likely a post-Flood impact vs. during the Flood. A number of other impacts were discussed with the evidence in the fossil record indicating much erosion and water deposition, suggesting other impacts took place during Noah's Flood. A brief review of the lunar bombardment record was presented along with Mercury, Venus, and Mars. As the report indicated - "Creation scientists have long speculated that during the Flood the solar system may have passed through a 'dirty' place in space or an asteroid swarm." This speculation is in contrast to the evolutionary paradigm where the early planets are bombarded by matter from the accretion disk around the Sun. I feel strongly that Flood geology needs to integrate the bombardment record into the discussion of supervolcanoes and past catastrophism within the framework of Genesis 1-11. This has been a tough subject in creationist journals like JOC over the past several years to tackle.
I agree with Jonathan. This post isn't directly "origins" related. However, indirectly, the universe as we know it was created by and will be destroyed by the same Creator God. I think the "supervolcano" concept is a very interesting conjecture. ABC News must have read the Bible at some point: "Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells." (2 Peter 3:11-13 ESV) I love the hope that is mentioned at the end of the verse. Fire, burning, and death are terrible things to consider. But new life, heaven, and eternity with our Creator & Savior are wonderful things to look forward to!
I love this forum for promoting conversations regarding the relevance of a study of origins in our lives! But, I don't know how a discussion of super volcanos and the end of the world has much to do with that. This post seems like it should fall more under a forum on why our "endings" matter, which, while it is an extremely good topic to discuss, just seems out of place and off-topic here.