Instances of volcanic eruptions are their highest for 300 years and scientists fear a major one that could kill millions and devastate the planet is a real possibility. Experts at the European Science Foundation said volcanoes – especially super-volcanoes like the one at Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, which has a caldera measuring 34 by 45 miles (55 by 72 km) – pose more threat to Earth and the survival of humans than asteroids, earthquakes, nuclear war and global warming.

There are few real contingency plans in place to deal with the ticking time bomb, which they conclude is likely to go off within the next 80 years. The world’s most dangerous active volcanoes include Yellowstone, Mount Vesuvius in Campagnia, Italy, and Popocatépetl i near Mexico City.

If any of them or other massive volcanic peaks suffered a major eruption the team said millions of people would die and earth’s atmosphere would be poisoned with ash and other toxins “beyond the imagination of anything man’s activity and global warming could do over 1,000 years. The chance of such as eruption happening at one of the major volcanoes within 80 years is put at five to ten per cent by the experts. FULL REPORT