Does Swarm of 400 Earthquakes in Yellowstone Park Predict Supervolcano Eruption?

According to scientists at the University of Utah, on June 15 a magnitude 4.5 earthquake was recorded in Yellowstone National Park, eight miles north-northeast of West Yellowstone.

The earthquake was [reportedly] felt in the towns of West Yellowstone and Gardiner, Montana, in Yellowstone National Park, and elsewhere in the surrounding region.”

The June 15 earthquake was the largest to have hit the area since March 30, 2014, when a magnitude 4.8 was recorded near the Norris Geyser Basin, 18 miles to the east.

As of June 19, 464 events had been recorded. Most of these ranged in the magnitude of 0 to 1, with five less than zero, indicating they occurred at depths ranging from about 0 miles to about 9 miles. “This is the highest number of earthquakes at Yellowstone within a single week in the past five years, but is fewer than weekly counts during similar earthquakes swarms in 2002, 2004, 2008 and 2010,” scientists said.”

The University of Utah is part of the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory (YVO) that monitors volcanic and earthquake activity in the Park. Seismic activity at volcanoes can signal an eruption might possibly occur, but it remains impossible to accurately predict exactly when it will.

Experts at the United States Geological Survey (USGS) believes the risk of eruption for the Yellowstone supervolcano is low, with the current volcano alert level being “normal.”

 A spokesperson from the USGS and YVO tells Newsweek the current activity appears to be “slowly winding down” and that “no other geological activity has been detected.”

Experts have put the odds of a major eruption at Yellowstone within the next year at one in 730,000.

In 2014 USGS scientists published a report that used computer modeling to predict what would happen if there were a large, explosive eruption at the Yellowstone supervolcano.

Their findings showed most of the country would be covered in a blanket of ash, with some areas being buried up to a meter deep.”

At the same time, the USGS tried to downplay the modeling, saying that any eruption in the park would likely be less powerful. There hasn’t been an eruption in 70,000 years and it would take considerable earthquake activity and ground uplift to get the process started.

Besides intense earthquake swarms (with many earthquakes above M4 or M5), we expect rapid and notable uplift around the caldera (possibly tens of inches per year). Finally, rising magma will cause explosions from the boiling-temperature geothermal reservoirs. Even with explosions, earthquakes and notable ground uplift, the most likely volcanic eruptions would be the type that would have minimal effect outside the park itself.”

Despite the USGS assurances that a catastrophic eruption is unlikely, there are those who believe the general turmoil in the world today points to what some consider “end times.” Certainly a supervolcano eruption that would decimate much of the United States fits with that worldview.

Source: Newsweek



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