Yellowstone volcano: USGS records 134 earthquakes across park – Warning sign of eruption?

Yellowstone volcano has been branded a “ticking time bomb” by geologists who predict the supervolcano could erupt once again. Located in the northwest US, Yellowstone has had at least three major eruptions in the last three million years. And though scientists are certain the volcano will not erupt within our lifetime, many still fear another cataclysm.

One person said on Twitter: “My niece and nephew learned that the volcano at Yellowstone is 40,000 years overdue to erupt and they have been freaking out about it for the past week asking me if we’ll be okay if it erupts.”

Another person said: “Something that I think about more than ever should is the possibility that Yellowstone could erupt at anytime. Imagine that man.”

A third Twitter user said: “Can we restart 2020? Bernie list, Coronavirus, Yellowstone can erupt any moment, earthquakes near New Mexico, and now murder hornets!

“This year needs a factory reset!”

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  • ‘More erratic than usual’ Why Yellowstone’s Old Faithful sparked fears

According to the US Geological Survey (USGS), Yellowstone National Park and its surrounding areas were struck by 134 earthquakes in April.

The strongest of the earthquakes peaked at magnitude 1.9.

The USGS also tracked a swarm of 20 earthquakes four miles south-southeast of West Thumb Geyser Basin.

The agency said: “During April 2020, the University of Utah Seismograph Stations, responsible for the operation and analysis of the Yellowstone Seismic Network, located 134 earthquakes in the Yellowstone National Park region.

“The largest event was a minor earthquake of magnitude 1.9 located eight miles north of West Yellowstone, Montana, on April 3 at 9.27pm MDT.

“A swarm of 20 earthquakes ranging in magnitude from 0.2 to 1.5 occurred about four miles south-southeast of West Thumb in Yellowstone National Park during April 12 to 13.

Earthquake sequences like these are common

US Geological Survey (USGS)

“The largest swarm event occurred on April 12 at 5.25pm MDT.”

However, the USGS noted Yellowstone is not overdue another blast and the earthquakes are very common for the national park and earthquake activity remains at “background levels”.

The USGS said: “Earthquake sequences like these are common and account for roughly 50 percent of the total seismicity in the Yellowstone region.”

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  • ‘Due an eruption!’ Scientists baffled by Yellowstone volcano activity

Geologists are certain Yellowstone does not exhibit any signs of an impending eruption.

There is also no evidence the volcano’s next blast will be an eruptive, volcanic eruption.

The most likely scenario is a hydrothermal eruption could go off in the distant future.

The USGS said: “This type of small, but still explosive eruption can occur from shallow reservoirs of steam or hot water rather than molten rock.

“These reservoirs are the sources of Yellowstone’s famous geysers, hot springs, and fumaroles.

“Such explosions could blast out shallow craters more than a kilometre wide; as has occurred in the northern Yellowstone Lake Basin, including Mary Bay and nearby Turbid Lake and Indian Pond, and in western Yellowstone National Park north of Old Faithful.

“Each of these craters was produced by steam blasts within the past few thousand years.”

A major explosive eruption is the least likely worst-case scenario.

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