A catastrophic meteor collision millions of years ago punches a hole in the ancient crust, boiling up and spilling in every direction the molten magma from deep below the Earth's surface. In the immediate aftermath, the resulting dust cloud thrown up by the meteor causes a planet-wide famine that wipes out much of life on Earth. For millennia afterword, the resulting volcanic blister burns a path across what is now southern Idaho, leaving an ocean of hardened lava in its wake. At the end of the line is the world's largest volcano. We call it Yellowstone; it is the last of those collapsed calderas from the titanic eruptions that repeatedly destroyed thousands of square miles, throwing enough caustic sulphur dioxide gas into the atmosphere to cause global volcanic winters like the one that nearly starved the earliest humans. In just the past 2 million years, the caldera has staged encore performances 3 more times.
Yellowstone: a sleeping super-volcano showing imminent signs of re-awakening. Yellowstone: a scenic wildlife wonderland perched atop the Rocky Mountain divide that inspired what some say is America's greatest gift to the world - the National Park idea. Here is the last refuge of the wild bison from herds that once blanketed the Great Plains. Here the urgent whistle of the wapiti sounds a last call before winter's silence fills the high country. Spring thaw melts into headwater trout streams that form the great western rivers - the Missouri, the Snake. The seasons cycle again with budding flower, bird song, birth of deer fawn, bison calf, bear cub, wolf pup. A place for predator to prey, and prey to graze. Yellowstone: with volcanic destruction waiting below, still a place for life to live free.