We may talk about civilization-ending catastrophes, like an asteroid impact, or nuclear war, or Donald Trump as POTUS, but there's one thing that has happened before, and we know it can happen again, and which if it did happen would put a serious hurt on human society.
That's a supervolcanic eruption. Now, we've had biggies, the biggest in recorded history being Tambora, and Krakatoa was impressive, Katmai was big, the Laki fissure eruption caused problems, and El Chichon and Pinatubo were big enough to be geologically noticeable. Further back, we've got Toba and Mazama (Crater Lake) and Huaynaputina and Kuwae and Vesuvius and Thera (Santorini). There have been large eruptions, clearly.
But never a real supervolcano.
That might change.
Unusual Chile volcano activity sparks interest, worries
"We have so little experience with this kind of data, but the uplift is the biggest seen anywhere on the planet," said Bradley Singer, a geoscientist from the U.S. University of Wisconsin-Madison, who is leading an international research effort to understand what is happening under the surface.I think continued monitoring is in order here.