Over the last month, over 130 earthquakes took place around the Yellowstone volcano, raising concerns that an eruption could soon take place.
The Yellowstone national park in Wyoming often experiences seismic activity. However, 133 earthquakes in 28 days cause some concern. After basic calculations, it results that approximately five tremors were detected per day on average.
According to records from the US Geological Survey, all of the earthquakes were relatively small. The most powerful one scored 3.5 magnitudes on August 15. Still, some experts believe that these events are signs of an upcoming volcano eruption. The cause of concern is not the size of the seismic activity, but the frequency of the tremors.
Scientists say that a spate of small earthquakes over a short period of time is a clear sign of magma and gasses below the surface, making their way up.
Portland State University Geology Professor Emeritus Scott Burns said: “If you get swarms under a working volcano, the working hypothesis is that magma is moving up underneath there.”
On the other hand, there are some experts that don’t consider the seismic activity a threat.
Jamie Farrell at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City says that the seismic events are just a part of the normal behavior that a natural cycle of the Yellowstone volcano exhibits. He does not believe that the swarm of earthquakes means that magma is ready to exit the volcano.
If the Yellowstone volcano erupts, it will put many people’s lives in danger. Estimations claim that around 87.000 would die immediately, and the majority of the United States would be made uninhabitable. Ash would be sent out into the atmosphere, blocking sunlight and creating a “nuclear winter.”
Undoubtedly, if an eruption takes place, many changes would affect and drastically change life as we know it.
As our second lead editor, Anna C. Mackinno provides guidance on the stories Great Lakes Ledger reporters cover. She has been instrumental in making sure the content on the site is clear and accurate for our readers. If you see a particularly clever title, you can likely thank Anna. Anna received a BA and and MA from Fordham University.