Friday, 5 Mar 2021

Yellowstone volcano: National Park rocked by 3.2 earthquake as locals feel ‘rumbling’

Yellowstone: Expert says earthquake activity is 'significant'

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The earthquake rocked the national park in Wyoming on Wednesday, with people reporting “rumbling”.

Taking to Twitter, one said: “Thought I felt a rumbling so I went on http://earthquake.usgs.gov…. no earthquake here but uh… seems like Yellowstone is a bit active… and has been for the last few weeks is that normal?”

Another commented: “I thought I felt a rumbling as well.”

Yellowstone is one of the world’s largest active volcanic systems.

Three huge eruptions of the supervolcano have happened in the last 3 million years.

The blasts went off some 640,000, 1.3 million and 2.1 million years ago.

The next eruption is feared to have catastophic worldwide effects.

The US Geological Survey (USGS) has said Yellowstone is not overdue for a large eruption.

It said volcanoes do not work in predictable ways and even if they did, there would still be another 100,000 years until a blast is due.

While another big eruption is possible, it may never happen, the USGS said.

In December, the volcano was rocked by a total of 292 earthquakes. 

Dr Mike Poland, of the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory (YVO), last month discussed the prospect of another giant eruption. 

During the USGS’s Overview, Monitoring, Hazards, and Noteworthy Results video, he said: “Everyone knows about the giant world-ending explosions.

“They are very big explosions, not end-of-the-world events, but there have been a few of these that have happened in the last two million years.

“There was one that happened 2.1 million years ago, a smaller 1.3 million years ago, and then 630,000 years ago, we had the formation of the Yellowstone caldera within the park.

“If that size of thing happened today, it would be very devastating to the central part of the US.

“We’ve done simulations on how ash would fall and ash would blanket much of the US, this is probably what happened when this caldera first formed 631,000 years ago.

“But the chances of this sort of event are very remote, they occur once or twice every million years.

“The interval between these things, there’s over 700,000 years between events.

“What happens more often are lava flows. Since the last big Yellowstone explosion, 631,000 years ago, there have been about two dozen lava flows, and you can see them here in these different colours.

“The initial pulse of lava flow activity was 500-600,000 years ago.

“We had these orange bits of lava come out, and then there was another pulse of activity that occurred about 170,000 years ago to 70,000 years ago, that gave us all of this pink [shaded] lava here.”

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