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November 6 2012

Ancient Supervolcano Affected the Ends of the Earth


About 74,000 years ago, the Toba volcano on the Indonesian island of Sumatra erupted with catastrophic force. Estimated to be 5,000 times larger than the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens, it is believed to be the largest volcanic event on Earth in the last 2 million years.

Toba spewed enough lava to build two Mount Everests, it produced huge clouds of ash that blocked sunlight for years, and it the left behind a crater 31 miles (50 kilometers) across. The volcano even sent enough sulphuric acid into the atmosphere to create acid rain downpours in the Earth's polar regions, which researchers have found evidence of in deep ice cores.

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