Home Science Yellowstone volcano: 288 earthquakes rock Yellowstone in May - Is the volcano...

Yellowstone volcano: 288 earthquakes rock Yellowstone in May – Is the volcano awakening?



Social media users have now expressed their concerns and fears about the US supervolcano, despite no official warnings Yellowstone volcano is awakening.

One person said on Twitter: “Welcome to June 2020: this month we are serving the assault of peaceful protesters by law enforcement, an aspiring dictator for president, Ebola in the Congo, and earthquakes near a super volcano in Yellowstone that could trigger its eruption.”

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Another person said: “Don’t forget Yellowstone is having earthquakes, we might get an eruption soon.”

Someone also tweeted: “Yellowstone have had multiple earthquakes in the last 24 hours too. Which is overdue an eruption. That will be bad.”

READ MORE: How scientists pinpointed Yellowstone eruption as magma ‘rose quick’

Yellowstone volcano: 288 earthquakes struck the Yellowstone region in May (Image: GETTY)

Yellowstone volcano: Many people fear the supervolcano could erupt in 2020 (Image: TWITTER)

According to the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory (YVO) branch of the USGS, 288 earthquakes struck in the Yellowstone National Park region last month.

The tremors, which are not above the norm for Yellowstone, were tracked by the University of Utah Seismograph Stations, which operate the Yellowstone Seismic Network.

The largest earthquakes struck on May 29 at 4.39am local time, peaking at magnitude 3.1 five miles west of Norris Junction.

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The USGS also reported three earthquakes swarms in the same area.

The first swarm of 12 tremors struck between May 4 and May 5.

Yellowstone earthquake activity remains at background levels

US Geological Survey (USGS)

The second swarm of 39 earthquakes then struck between May 22 and May 23.

The third swarm of 100 earthquakes hit between May 29 and May 30.

The earthquakes all peaked in the range of magnitude -0.2 to 3.1.

The USGS said: “An additional swarm of 80 earthquakes was located about 10 miles north-northeast of West Yellowstone, Montana, on May 9 to 11.

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“The magnitude range for this swarm was -0.6 to 2.0.”

However, the USGS assured earthquake sequences like this account for about 50 percent of the total seismicity in the Yellowstone region.

Geologists do not consider these events to be precursors to increased volcanic activity.

The USGS said: “Yellowstone earthquake activity remains at background levels.”

Although some tremors can precede a volcanic eruption, Yellowstone geologists do not expect the supervolcano to erupt within our lifetime.

The USGS said: “Almost all earthquakes at Yellowstone are brittle-failure events caused when rocks break due to crustal stresses.

Yellowstone volcano: A map of the earthquakes in the Yellowstone region (Image: USGS)

Yellowstone volcano is listed among the most dangerous volcanoes on Earth (Image: EXPRESS)

“Though we’ve been looking for years at Yellowstone, no one has yet identified ‘long-period (LP) events’ commonly attributed to magma movement.

“When they are observed, that will not mean Yellowstone is getting ready to erupt.

“LP earthquakes are observed commonly at other volcanoes in the world, including California, which have not erupted for centuries or millennia.”

If Yellowstone does ever erupt again, it is more likely it will be a hydrothermal blast and not a volcanic one.

Hydrothermal eruptions are caused by scorching steam exploding from the ground, hurling rocks and other debris into the sky.

The eruptions typically occur in shallow reservoirs of water or steam and not lava.

The USGS said: “The least likely but worst-case volcanic eruption at Yellowstone would be another explosive caldera-forming eruption such as those that occurred 2.1 million, 1.3 million, and 640,000 years ago.

“However, the probability of such an eruption in any given century or millennium is exceedingly low.”


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