What would happen if all the volcanoes on Earth erupted together?

According to estimates, there are about 1, 500 potentially active volcanoes scattered around the planet, not to mention those submerged in the ocean. Of those, about 500 have erupted since there are historical records of these events, and some of them have had catastrophic consequences, as we here at Mega Curious have already explained in stories that you can access through this link as well as this one.

Now imagine that all these 1, 500 volcanoes decide to erupt at once. What would be the consequences of such an event for the earth, and what were the chances that the living things that inhabit the planet would survive? You don't have to be a genius to intuit that things would get pretty ugly here, right?


Becky Oskin of the Live Science portal spoke to geologist Parv Sethi of Radford University, Virginia, who explained that if all potentially active volcanoes on the planet erupted together, this event would trigger a domino effect that would still affect the environment. more intense than a nuclear winter. In fact, according to the expert, he would not want to survive here under these conditions!

Infernal earth

According to Sethi, lava rivers would be a great danger to those who live near volcanoes. However, the main problems resulting from a volcanic cataclysm would be the ashes and gases that released into the atmosphere. As he explained, the most explosive eruptions could send particles and gases into the stratosphere, and this entire material would envelop the planet in a thick layer that would block the passage of sunlight.

As a result, the earth would be in darkness and the photosynthesis process would be disrupted, resulting in the loss of entire crops and the dramatic drop in global temperature. Worse, according to Sethi's estimates, the ashes could take up to 10 years to dissipate from the atmosphere!

Earthlings, RIP

As Sethi said, a portion of dangerous gases, including hydrogen chloride (which is the gaseous form of hydrochloric acid), hydrogen fluoride, hydrogen sulfide and sulfur dioxide would be released into the atmosphere, resulting in acid rain. that would kill the plants that survived under the ashes. Not to mention that these precipitations would still contaminate aquifers and oceans, causing their acidification.

The biggest problem would be the accumulation of material in the atmosphere.

In the case of the oceans, this process would lead to the massive death of corals and shellfish, and extinctions would affect the entire ocean food chain, eventually destroying fish and other marine life. Indeed, there are records that water acidification could be related to the extinctions that occurred in the Permian-Triassic, Triassic-Jurassic and Cretaceous.

Interestingly, because volcanic eruptions also release carbon dioxide - one of the famous greenhouse gases - if 1, 500 of them started spitting this compound into the atmosphere, ecosystems would be drastically affected and earthlings would cook on the surface. There was still a possibility that the atmospheric composition would be permanently altered. And then, dear reader, it would be the turn of extremophile organisms to dominate the earth.

According to Sethi, these creatures are already accustomed to surviving in extreme environments - with high levels of acidity - such as the organisms that live in the hot springs that exist in Yellowstone or even those that inhabit the hydrothermal vents. under the sea.

One of many hot springs in Yellowstone National Park, USA

The way out for humans, according to Sethi, would be to live in orbit around the Earth in space colonies or perhaps undersea shelters - but to survive, it would be necessary to stay well away from the surface until the dust settled. However, as these options have a number of limitations, the geologist bet the lucky ones would be those who died during the eruptions. And you, dear reader, agree?