Earth's largest volcanic eruptions were an order of magnitude larger than any witnessed by humans since the advent of civilization. These “supereruptions” have played an important role in our species' past and they pose a serious future threat. In this issue of Elements, we consider key issues that reflect both the scientific and social importance of these awe-inspiring phenomena: the products and processes of the eruptions themselves, the nature and evolution of the shallow magma chambers that feed them, the monitoring of active supervolcano systems, and the potential consequences to humans of future supereruptions.

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