Researchers from a variety of institutions and disciplines have been studying Mount Cleveland, the most active volcano of the group, trying to understand the nature of the Islands of the Four Mountains. They have gathered multiple pieces of evidence showing that the islands could belong to one interconnected caldera.
Unlike stratovolcanoes, which tend to tap small- to modestly-sized reservoirs of magma, a caldera is created by tapping a huge reservoir in the Earth's crust. When the reservoir's pressure exceeds the strength of the crust, gigantic amounts of lava and ash are released in a catastrophic episode of eruption...
If the researchers' suspicions are correct, the newfound volcanic caldera would belong to the same category of volcanoes as the Yellowstone Caldera and other volcanoes that have had super-eruptions with severe global consequences.
So yeah. That's just marvelous. Okay, I know, the discovery doesn't mean it's going to erupt any time soon, although it bears mention that Mount Cleveland has erupted 22 times in the past 230 years, and eight of those eruptions were in the last eleven years. So it would totally be on-brand for 2020 if the whole thing went kablooie.
Yes, I know, I'm not supposed to be superstitious or engage in magical thinking or anything. Given how this year's gone, I think I deserve a little slack, here. No one will be happier than me if January 1, 2021 comes and the Aleutian Islands still exist, but at present I'm not ruling anything out.
There we have it -- a supervolcano that we didn't even realize existed. Just another thing to put in your Box of Anxiety. Honestly, at the moment I'm more concerned about what Donald "Cheeto Benito" Trump and his cronies could potentially do to the United States on the way out the door. In my experience, assholes can do more damage than ash holes.
Even the super-sized ones.