Fears over a potential Yellowstone volcano eruption in 2014 have had people worrying about whether earthquakes in the region of Yellowstone National Park could cause the massive caldera to pop and the supervolcano to explode. The United States Geological Survey (USGS) recently announced there were 99 earthquakes in July, but is that anything to get worried about?
In a related report by The Inquisitr, the USGS also recently said the Yellowstone earthquake threat is high. The USGS calculates the odds against a Yellowstone volcano eruption as 730,000 to one, although Yellowstone conspiracy theory supporters claim USGS is hiding earthquake data in order to prevent a national panic.
The University of Utah Seismograph Stations is responsible for the operation and analysis of the Yellowstone Seismic Network. The biggest Yellowstone earthquake in recent times occurred in March of 2014 and was measured as a 4.8 magnitude. To put this in perspective, that was the biggest recorded quake in the area since February of 1980.
Fortunately, things have cooled down underneath our feet a bit since the biggest Yellowstone earthquake in July was centered about 11 miles north northeast of Old Faithful and only measured at a 2.5 magnitude. This region has apparently been shaking a lot lately since half of July’s seismic activity occurred on July 6 and 7 and is a result of the ongoing north-south trending series of earthquakes, which began in September, 2013. Still, there is a good amount of shaking going on since 99 earthquakes were recorded in all.
How should this data be interpreted? The USGS reports the severity level as being “minor” and also says the Yellowstone Volcano Alert Level is “normal” based upon their scale:
“Earthquake sequences like these are common and account for roughly 50% of the total seismicity in the Yellowstone region. Yellowstone earthquake activity in July remains at normal background levels. Deformation in north-central Yellowstone continues, with the subsidence rate holding steady for the last month at around 10 cm/yr. Since the subsidence began in early April 2014, the NRWY GPS station has dropped about 5 cm.”
When the USGS says the volcanic activity is “normal” that does not necessarily mean low. The Volcano Alert Level scale starts at normal, which means the volcano is ” is in typical background, noneruptive state” or it can mean that “volcanic activity has ceased and volcano has returned to non-eruptive background state.” The scale then jumps up to Advisory, Watch, and then Warning, which means a “hazardous eruption is imminent, underway, or suspected.”
Why do you think there is so much speculation surrounding the Yellowstone supervolcano?