Scientists from the University of Leicester discovered there were a staggering 12 massive eruptions over the course of four million years, beginning 12 million years ago.
The massive eruptions helped to form the 100 kilometre-wide Snake River Basin, with one of the most powerful eruptions occurring 8.1 million years ago. The eruption’s volume exceeded 1,900 km3 and created a 1.3km thick caldera.
Furthermore, the Snake River Plain is situated on the Yellowstone Hotspot track, a region which spans from Nevada, through Oregon and Idaho and then to Wyoming where Yellowstone Volcano is located.
Dr Tom Knott from the University of Leicester, said: “While it is well-know that Yellowstone has erupted catastrophically in recent times perhaps less widely appreciated is that these were just the latest in a protracted history of numerous catastrophic super-eruptions that have burned a track along the Snake River eastwards from Oregon to Yellowstone from 16 Ma to present.