YELLOWSTONE volcano and the surrounding areas were rocked by more than 400 earthquakes last month – a figure the US Geological Survey (USGS) has confirmed is above the monthly average.
The Yellowstone volcano caldera stretches across a 43 by 28 mile section of the Western United States, where its occasional rumbling is a cause for concern for many. The supervolcano’s biggest three eruptions went off some 2.1 million, 1.3 million and 640,000 years ago, leading many to falsely assume Yellowstone erupts like clockwork. And though there is no real evidence to back these doomsday fears, Yellowstone’s recent spate of earthquake activity may be enough to get pulses racing.
According to the latest data collected by the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory (YVO) branch of the USGS, 445 tremors were detected within the National Park last June.
This period of seismicity was marked by four intense swarms, including two that peaked at 153 tremors each.
The update arrives amid widespread fears and unfounded claims about Yellowstone’s supposedly explosive future.
Social media, in particular, is rife with conspiracy theories and misinformed opinions about Yellowstone, with many people believing the volcano is overdue for another big eruption.
One person said: “There are a lot of geologists closely watching Yellowstone.
“If that ever went off it would make everybody put aside our political difference and show what’s really important.
“Same with the overdue 9 plus earthquake due off the Pacific Northwest Coast.”
Another person said: “Probably be best to stay away from Yellowstone.
“It’s well overdue for an eruption and most of southern Canada and well most of the USA wouldn’t b a pretty place. Tbh I wouldn’t mess with any super volcanoes.”
Another Yellowstone eruption is the very last thing the world needs right now, so is there anything you need to be afraid of?
Luckily for us all, the answer to that question is: absolutely not.
The USGS admitted in its monthly report the 445 earthquakes were above the norm of 100 to 200 quakes a month.
But US National Park experiences as many as 3,000 earthquakes each year, half of which arrive in the form of earthquake swarms.
And more than 400 earthquakes in a single month, though seemingly scary, is not an entirely unique occurrence.
The USGS said: “While above the average for a month, this is by no means unprecedented.
“For example, over 1,100 earthquakes were recorded during the month of June 2017.”
And the strongest earthquake experienced last month was a fairly minor magnitude 3.1 quake on June 28.
According to the USGS, this earthquake was part of a sequence of tremors that struck in the same area on June 19.
None of this, geologists have stressed, is evidence of an eruption brewing under Yellowstone.
he volcano is not overdue and there is no evidence to suggest Yellowstone will ever erupt again.
If the volcano does blow one day, the chances of it being a volcanic eruption are very small.
You are more likely to see a hydrothermal eruption – an explosive blast driven by shallow reservoirs of steam or hot water.
The USGS said: “YVO has not detected signs of activity that suggest an eruption is imminent.”