Is Devastating Supereruption at Yellowstone Around the Corner?

© AFP 2022 / Mark Ralston Tourists view the Morning Glory hot spring in the Upper Geyser Basin of Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming (File)
Tourists view the Morning Glory hot spring in the Upper Geyser Basin of Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming (File) - Sputnik International
Massive eruptions of the Yellowstone caldera have allegedly shaken the world three times – 2.1 million, 1.3 million, and 640,000 years ago respectively. Scientists from the United States Geological Survey are monitoring the activity of the supervolcano there for signs that it might erupt and cause devastation on a global scale.

The scientist-in-charge at the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory of the United States Geological Survey (USGS), tasked with monitoring the activity of its caldera, Mike Poland, has revealed that just in November, the University of Utah seismograph station recorded 107 earthquakes in the region, with the largest one having a 3.1 magnitude and occurring outside the park.

“There was also a very small swarm of earthquakes that began right at the end of November and continued into early December right here on the west. The largest event of this sequence was a magnitude 2.1”, the researcher said in a video published by the USGS.

According to Poland, a further deformation of the caldera has been recorded.

“So over the last two years, there was an overall downward trend that suggests subsistence of the resurgent dome. But there’s been some variability here in the last few months caused by storms”, he concluded, adding that “Moving to the Mallard Lake Dome and the Old Faithful site, we see the same downward trend over time, over the two years of this plot, with some variations in the last few months again. Subsistence with a little bit of variability”.

The Norris Geyser Basin, which rose from 2015 until October 2018 but has remained steady for almost a year, also had a small subsistence event with a two-centimetre uplift in autumn 2019.

Debates Around Next Supereruption

His update about the movement of the Yellowstone caldera and changes in the region has come amid speculations about yet another supereruption that could inflict devastation spanning several states. As the volcano is thought to have erupted 2.1 million years ago, 1.3 million years ago, and 640,000 years ago, inflicting devastation on a global scale, The Daily Express reports, some have claimed, citing their calculations, the interval between the devastating events is 600,000 years, meaning that a planetary catastrophe is overdue. Such claims, however, have been dismissed by scientists.

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USGS scientist Jake Lowenstein, who commented on the matter several years ago, argued that doing statistics on two eruptive intervals is “playing games”.

“Because we don’t know. There’s no clock down there, the magma is going to erupt when it wants to erupt. There’s been a lot of things that have happened over the last 600,000 years that might indicate there’s less likely of an eruption”, he said.
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