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What is a supervolcano?

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Welcome to CoreFacts, where we're always short on time and big on science. I'm Brian Campbell. Today's question is …

What is a supervolcano?

The term "supervolcano" implies an eruption of magnitude 8 on the Volcano Explosivity Index, meaning that more than 1,000 cubic kilometers (250 cubic miles) of magma are erupted. The most recent such event on Earth occurred 74,000 years ago at the Toba Caldera in Sumatra, Indonesia.

And now you know.  Join us again every week for a new CoreFact.  For other CoreFacts, or for CoreCast, our in-depth science podcast, go to  If you’d like to have a question featured on our show, give us an e-mail at or a phone call at 703-648-5600.  Remember, long distance fees do apply.  CoreFacts is a product of the U.S. Geological Survey, Department of the Interior.

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Title: What is a supervolcano?


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Date Recorded: 6/3/2009

Usage: This audio file is public domain/of free use unless otherwise stated. Please refer to the USGS Copyright section for how to credit this audio.

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