No, the Yellowstone Supervolcano is not expected to erupt any time soon


Fumaroles at Roaring Mountain. Photo Courtesy National Park Service.

Miranda Ellis

• The mainstream media has been implying that the Yellowstone Supervolcano is heading for eruption due to recent seismic activity. Scientists and park officials say otherwise. 

There are a lot of crazy things happening in the year 2020, including a worldwide pandemic, the emergence of murder hornets and nationwide chaos in protest of racist police brutality. NASA sent two astronauts to space for the first time in nine years, the 2020 election is firing up and Anonymous has made a reappearance after years of relative silence. 

  In addition to that, a slight change in seismic activity in Yellowstone National Park has had some fearing the worst after seeing news articles titled “Yellowstone National Park has 11 earthquakes in just 24 hours” (Daily Mail), “Yellowstone national park hit with multiple earthquakes in 24 hours” (Independent) and “Yellowstone volcano: Earthquake swarm blasts National Park” (Express).

And while it may be true that Yellowstone has seen multiple earthquakes in the last few days within a short amount of time, the National Park Service states “Yellowstone is one of the most seismically active areas in the United States. Approximately 700 to 3,000 earthquakes occur each year in the Yellowstone area; most are not felt.”

“Yellowstone earthquakes tend to occur in swarms – close together in time and space. This phenomenon is related to transport of volcanic fluids along the many small fractures in the shallow rocks over the magma, a pattern that has been noted in volcanoes around the world.”

While the frequency of the recent earthquakes is nothing new or significant, the only real change in seismic activity would be the magnitude of the earthquakes, which are typically not felt. The strongest earthquake recorded in recent days was on Friday, May 29, with the earthquake measuring a magnitude of 3.1 on the Richter scale. 

In the last two million years, there have been three super eruptions in the Yellowstone area, with the most recent occurring more than 600,000 years ago. The most significant eruption (not super eruption) happened 174,000 years ago, creating the West Thumb of Yellowstone Lake. 

“There have been more than 60 smaller eruptions since then (the eruption of Yellowstone Caldera 174,000 years ago) and the last of the 60-80 post-caldera lava flows was about 70,000 years ago,” the National Park Service says on their website. 

While the super volcano is still an active volcano, NPS.gov states “Another caldera-forming eruption is theoretically possible, but it is very unlikely in the next thousand or even 10,000 years. Scientists have found almost no indication of an imminent smaller eruption of lava in more than 30 years of monitoring.”

“Scientists from the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory watch an array of monitors in place throughout the region. These monitors would detect sudden or strong earthquake activity, ground shifts and volcanic gasses that would indicate increasing activity. No such evidence exists at this time.”

In a monthly Yellowstone Volcano Observatory update on Monday, June 1, the document explains that the while the largest event recorded for the month of May was measured at 3.1, the majority of the earthquake’s magnitudes ranged from -0.2 to 2.0.

“The overall (ground) deformation style and rate remains unchanged since the last update. Subsidence of Yellowstone caldera, which has been ongoing since 2015, continues at an average rate of 2-3 cm per year,” the report read. 

Signs of a super eruption would likely begin showing decades beforehand, with grounds rising potentially dozens of feet. A super eruption would likely be an event that would kill many Americans and the ash from that eruption would blanket the ground here in Pampa 10 to 30 inches deep. Needless to say, with everything going on, this is a rumor I am happy to dismiss. We have enough to worry about without the mainstream media making us worry that a super volcanic eruption is going to end the world as we know it. 

For more information about Yellowstone National Park or to read reports on recent seismic activity yourself, you can go online to https://www.usgs.gov/observatories/yellowstone-volcano-observatory.

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