Dispelling Rumor and Myth: Will Yellowstone Soon Erupt?

Apr 24 2014

The Internet has added to Yellowstone myths, causing many people to question if this geologic wonder will soon explode. While this area does sit on a giant caldera that is full of ever-changing steam vents and an underground volcano, it’s important that the general public understands Yellowstone’s lifespan shouldn’t be based on a single seismometer reading.

In fact, scientists said that many of the recent rumors of geothermic activity have been related to rumblings near the B944 seismometer, which is located near the West Thumb. Scientists recently reported that this seismometer has been malfunctioning. These inaccurate readings further fueled speculation that Yellowstone was on the verge of a catastrophe that would surely dismember humankind.

Doomsday predictions are everywhere, swirling around blogs, forums and Internet sites at rampant paces, trying to cause despair and fuel intense worry. In fact, it’s important for people to consider the source of such Internet stories. The following lists the most reliable scientific sources for Yellowstone caldera information:

The Yellowstone Volcano Observatory (U.S. Geological Survey Volcanic Hazards Program)
The University of Utah Yellowstone Plum, Hotspot, Teton Fault and Wasatch Front Earthquake page

Instead of assuming that seismometer readings are predicting an eruption, view accurate information online that highlights the specific readings of these instruments, including what ranges are within normal. Yes, Yellowstone is a massive underground volcano, but if an immanent eruption were to occur, wouldn’t all seismometers be affected instead of only a single unit?

As a restless geothermic area, Yellowstone experiences several small daily earthquakes. This is normal for Yellowstone and is common in areas that experience hot waters rising and falling from the earth’s crust. These steam vapors are far different from oozing magma, which is a definite sign of impending disaster. Unlike Mount St. Helen’s deadly explosion in 1980, Yellowstone has several steam vents that help relieve pent up pressure.

When reading articles online, it’s important to consider the sources. Are they scientific experts or simply conspiracy theorists that are trying to increase panic and contribute to a catastrophic doomsday scenario? Verifying the source helps determine the accuracy of articles.

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