Visualization of Toba eruption

NOVA joins four scientists in their global pursuit of clues to a massive volcanic eruption that appears to have had a devastating impact on the Earth 75,000 years ago. And if they’re right, the ancient supervolcano — and others like it — may someday reawaken, with catastrophic consequences for our modern world. Now, an array of clues — scattered ashes and ice cores, tiny ocean creatures and steaming lakeside rocks — are brought together to solve the Mystery of the Megavolcano.

To qualify as a supervolcano, a volcano must produce at least 240 cubic miles of magma, or partly molten rock, in a single eruption — about the same volume of water the Mississippi River dumps into the Gulf of Mexico during a single year. In fact, the supervolcano with the world’s largest magma chamber sits directly below Yellowstone National Park. If it erupts, as it has twice in the ancient past, the magma would be enough to fill more than 200 Grand Canyons.

See previews and find out more on the NOVA site at

Watch it Thursday, June 19th at 10:00 p.m. on KUAT6