A New Supervolcano is Threatening the Northeast

Typically it’s the Northwest that people think of when they think of volcanic activity. The Pacific Ring of Fire is a horseshoe-shaped area of seismic activity that stretches from the west coast of South America, to the west coast of North America, across the Pacific Ocean by Alaska, down the east coast of Asia, Japan, the Phillippines, the north coast of Australia and the islands of Oceania. Most of the world’s earthquakes, the overwhelming majority of the world’s strongest earthquakes, and approximately 75 percent of the world’s volcanoes occur within the Ring of Fire.

Now, the states of New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Vermont are at risk from a massive blob of magma that’s been recently discovered. Scientists say the blob is like a hot air balloon, slowly rising under New England. While an outright eruption might be decades away, it could increase seismic activity in the area.

The study, led by researchers from Rutgers University, used EarthScope to connect thousands of seismic measurement devices over the continental United States for two years. Nothing on Earth has been done on this scale, the lead researcher, Vadim Levin, said.