Volcano vs Supervolcano: Difference and Comparison

Usually, people do the mistake of considering volcanoes and supervolcanoes as the same. It’s not like that at all. Both volcanoes and supervolcanoes have long endings.

Both volcanoes can cause a lot of destruction to the property and life of the people. There is also a huge difference in the Volcanic Explosive Index of both.

Key Takeaways

  1. A volcano is a geological formation where molten rock, ash, and gas erupt from the Earth’s surface. At the same time, a supervolcano is a rare type of volcano that can produce an enormous eruption with a volume of more than 240 cubic miles.
  2. Supervolcanoes are much larger and more destructive than regular volcanoes, and they can cause widespread devastation and climate change.
  3. There are only a few known supervolcanoes worldwide, including Yellowstone National Park in the United States, Toba Caldera in Indonesia, and Lake Taupo in New Zealand.

Volcano vs Supervolcano

The difference between a volcano and a supervolcano is that a volcano explodes more frequently in less magnitude. On the other hand, a supervolcano tends to explode less frequently with more magnitude. Volcanoes explode years after years while supervolcano takes thousands of years to explode.

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A volcano can be defined as a crack in the crust of Earth or another planet or any satellite. The crack that occurs in the crust gives allowance to hot lava, gases, and volcanic ash to get away from the magma chamber present beneath the surface. Volcanoes are the exterior indication of the thermal process.

A supervolcano can be defined as a volcano that has had an explosion with an explosively volcanic index (VEI) of 8. 8 is a supervolcano with the highest value which is recorded on the Volcanic Explosivity Index by the scientists.

This indicates that the capacity of deposits for such an explosion is larger than 240 cubic miles (1,000 cubic kilometers).

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonVolcanoSupervolcano
Located in Most volcanoes are found along a belt, called the “Ring of Fire” that encircles the Pacific Ocean and some volcanoes are also found on the Hawaiian Islands.USA, New Zealand, etc.
Material Exploded Volcanoes explode material around a 1km cube. Supervolcanoes explode material around 1000 km cube.
Names Mount Saint Helens, Mount Fuji, Mount Elbrus, etc.Yellowstone, the Long Valley Caldera, the Valles Caldera, etc.
Magnitude Volcanoes erupt with less magnitude.Supervolcanoes erupt with more magnitude.
Climate Change Volcano eruptions do not result in much climate change.Supervolcanic eruptions result in changing weather and cause mini-ice ages.

What is Volcano?

On our planet, Earth, volcanoes are majorly found where the tectonic plates are separated or intersecting and major ones of these are found beneath water.

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The occurrence of a volcano can even form where there is extending and dispersing of the plates of crusts, such as in Rio Grande Rift and Wells Gray-Clearwater Volcanic Filed in North America, East African Rift. An eruption of a Volcano is a breathtaking show of the power of Earth.

Yet volcano eruption is one of the most spectacular things to witness in your life, it can cause serious harm to people’s lives, their property, their health, etc. Volcano eruption can lead to serious disasters on the Earth.

The eruption of volcanoes near or around densely populated areas can cause disastrous loss of lives. Volcanoes are similarly connected with place tectonic exercise.

Major values, such as those of Auckland and Japan, happen on the edge of the huge hard rocky plates that make up the surface of our planet, the Earth.

Various other volcanoes such as those of the islands of Hawaii are situated in the mid of the plate, supplying crucial confirmation as to the rate and direction of the plate motion.

The study of the products of volcanoes and volcanoes themselves is known as Volcanology. Gigantic eruptions of the volcano take place due to the fast enlargement of the gases.


What is Supervolcano?

Supervolcanoes take place when magma such is present in the mantle hikes up into the crust but cannot shatter through it and pressure sets up in a huge and developing magma pool until the crust cannot accommodate the pressure. This can take place at hotspots (for example, subduction zones, Yellowstone Caldera, Toba).

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Huge volume supervolcanic explosions are also connected with huge igneous provinces, that can cover up large areas with lava and ash of the volcano. This can result in climate change which can last for years and threaten various species for their extinction.

World’s most recent Volcanic Eruption Index – 8 explosions, the Oruanui eruption, took place about 26,500 years ago. The word “supervolcano” was first introduced in the context of volcanoes in 1949.

The origins of supervolcanoes lie in the early 20th-century scientific discussion about the history of geology and the traits of the three sisters’ volcanic area of Oregon in the United States. Edwin T. Hodge suggested that a very huge volcano had existed in that area.

That huge volcano was named Mount Multnomah by Edwin T. Hodge, in 1925. The possible existence of the huge volcano called Mount Multnomah was not taken into notice by volcanologist Howell William in the book which he wrote. The book which was written by Howell Williams is known as The Ancient Volcanoes of Oregon.


Main Differences Between Volcano and Supervolcano

  1. Volcanoes are on much lower scales as compared to supervolcanoes.
  2. Volcanoes are around 3 to 4 miles wide while a supervolacnoes are around 24 miles wide.
  3. Volcanoes are around 1,500-2,000 feet tall while supervolcanoes are around 9,000-10,000 feet tall.
  4. Volcanoes are difficult to spot while supervolcanoes are not difficult to spot.
  5. Volcanoes are depressions in grounds while supervolcanoes are not.
Difference Between Volcano and Supervolcano
  1. https://www.nature.com/articles/nature12482
  2. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00410-014-1018-2

Last Updated : 23 July, 2023

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