Most people don't realize how incredibly large and powerful the volcano is, that lies just beneath Yellowstone National Park. Understandably so, due to the fact that we have come to recognize volcanoes as high rising mountains, when in fact, this one is a depression in the earth. However, not very far under the surface, only five miles deep in some places, there lies an active magma chamber that has the potential to blow the entire park into the atmosphere. The ash cloud that it would inevitably create would be devastating to the entire United States, and would change weather patterns for the entire globe indefinitely.
It has erupted three times in it's history. The first time was 2.1 million years ago, around the time that early humans were developing their first stone tools. The second eruption occurred 1.3 million years ago, just after those humans learned to create "fire on demand". It's most recent eruption was merely 640,000 years ago. Modern man had evolved by this time, and in some areas of the world, had already begun hunting some animals to extinction.
There were 800,000 years between the first two eruptions, and then 660,000 between the second and third. It has already been 640,000 years between then, and where we are now. Is it due? Perhaps. There have supposedly been 1,620 small earthquakes between January 17, 2010 and February 1, 2010 at the caldera. However, there are always small quakes (measuring under 3.0) occurring around the park. We could have another several thousand years to go.
Why Am I Telling You This?
Simply to remind you that a planet has to do what a planet has to do. Humankind gets so upset when we experience terrible hurricanes, tsunamis, tornadoes, earthquakes, and eruptions, and we question "why did this happen?". It happened because we live on a planet that is constantly evolving, changing, reforming and reshaping itself. We can't stop it anymore than an antelope can stop it, but we can adapt to it. We don't own this planet, we're only along for the ride. Enjoy the ride!
Here's something interesting:
From this page, you can also view several other live cams around Yellowstone!