Geologists have detected a swarm of more than 200 earthquakes that hit the Yellowstone National Park in the past two weeks. Does this mean the Yellowstone supervolcano could erupt soon?
The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) stated that the swarm of 200 earthquakes started on February 8 up to February 15 in an area about eight miles or 13 kilometers northeast of West Yellowstone, Montana. It further stated that swarms like this account for more than 50 percent of the seismic activity at Yellowstone and no volcanic activity has occurred from any past such events, as noted by IFL Science.
Likewise, Michael Poland, the scientist-in-charge of the USGS Yellowstone Volcano Observatory in Vancouver, Washington, said that while the swarm is more significant than the everyday seismicity in the park, it is not a sign of a significant quake. He further noted that Yellowstone experiences swarm all the time.
He cited that there was also a swarm of about 2,400 tremors that hit the Yellowstone between June and September of 2017. This current swarm could have been the continuation of the earlier swarm, according to Poland.
According to the University of Utah Seismograph Stations, earthquake swarm is as a higher-than-average number of earthquakes hitting a region in a short period. That typically is no single central shock. The swarms happen once the stress levels shifted along smaller faults in an earthquake region.
Poland explained the reason why the area near the Norris Geyser Basin is very shaky is due to the whole crust in the area that is still adjusting to the big earthquake in 1959. Moreover, the Yellowstone was also hit by a magnitude 6.1 quake in 1975, according to Live Science.
Poland also said that humans are emphasizing the probability of a huge eruption that is vanishingly small. However, magnitude-seven earthquakes could occur comparatively more often. He further said that when they do happen, they are going to shake the region severely, so people must be prepared for that.
In case the Yellowstone supervolcano will blow, it would affect not only the United States but also other parts of the world. NASA predicted that the global consequences could be graver than the asteroid strike of the planet. The ash clouds could block the Earth’s sunlight and could devastate the United States.