Is Yellowstone's Super Volcano Going to Erupt?

Old Faithful geyser in Yellowstone-National Park. This is a well known tourist attraction but what many people don't realize is that there is a super volcano in Yellowstone also.
Old Faithful geyser in Yellowstone-National Park. This is a well known tourist attraction but what many people don't realize is that there is a super volcano in Yellowstone also. | Source

New "Swarm of Earthquakes" in Yellowstone

For those that follow and study earthquakes and volcanoes - this has surely got to be the question of the day: Is the super volcano at Yellowstone Park becoming active? Is the old man about to get out of his chair and give us a worldwide show?

From Associated Press:

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - "Scientists are closely monitoring more than 250 small earthquakes that have occurred in Yellowstone National Park since Friday. Swarms of small earthquakes happen frequently in Yellowstone. But Robert Smith, a professor of geophysics at the University of Utah, says it's very unusual to have so many over several days.

The largest tremor was Saturday and measured magnitude 3.8.

Smith says it's hard to say what might be causing the tremors but notes that Yellowstone is very geologically active. An active volcano there last erupted 70,000 years ago."

The interest in super volcanoes and earthquakes has been spiked (pardon the pun) by this unusual swarm of earthquakes in Yellowstone over the last few days. Although earthquakes in the park are NOT unusual and there have been swarms before, this particular swarm has the scientists concerned enough to be keeping a close eye on it.

The location of the earthquakes is right where a huge "bulge" was found under Yellowstone lake a few years back that caused much speculation. The " bulge" under the lake is estimated to be 100 ft. tall at some points, and the reason for the massive bulge is yet unclear. Is it building in anticipation of pressure below? Has it been there alot longer then we realize? There are many unanswered questions that have scientists scrambling to find out answers.

Earthquake Activity at Yellowstone on 12-29-2008

This is chart from the Utah Seismic  Center which monitors Earthquakes. This chart is from one of the sensors located in Yellowstone Park.
This is chart from the Utah Seismic Center which monitors Earthquakes. This chart is from one of the sensors located in Yellowstone Park. | Source

"Super Volcano" : Not Your Ordinary Volcano

The reason the Yellowstone National Park "super volcano" attracts so much attention is because it's no ordinary volcano. This is a volcano which upon eruption could become a "cataclysmic" - and perhaps - extinction level event. The last time the volcano erupted was about 640,000 years ago, and according to scientists it blows about every 600,000 to 650,000 years. So there are some people that believe we are overdue for an eruption from Yellowstone - and that perhaps this event will be something we may witness in our lifetime.

Being an avid researcher of natural disasters and climate change, I stumbled upon Yellowstone's supervolcano many years ago. I am now quite intrigued by the fact that one of the leading researchers at the lake, Robert Smith, even issued a press release from the Yellowstone Observatory stating that this "swarm" of earthquakes in Yellowstone is quite unusual. Well, in the fairness of science, there are many many things that are quite unusual that occur on earth that we don't quite understand. And it's not like we can look back 600,000 years and talk to people about the signs and symptoms of a super volcano about to explode. All we can really rely on is what scientific evidence we have gathered in our brief time here on earth, and hope that with that research we can make better decisions and observations.

As for Yellowstone's Super Volcano? Well... what can we really do other than follow the news, track observations and come to our own conclusions on any actions - if any - that we should be taking to protect ourselves and our families? Chances are if this son of a gun blows it could be so fast that we wouldn't even have a chance to blink an eye anyway - or even make preparations. Nature doesn't follow any rules and it's not like we can demand the Yellowstone Super Volcano to just calm down. The only ones we can tell to calm down is ourselves.

And I'm sure the mainstream media would not announce: "Hey there is about to be a cataclysmic event that might possibly happen but we're not sure because we don't have enough evidence of other cataclysmic events to draw from - so just be alert that something might happen".... Let's just hope that TPTB at least give us some type of heads up so we can run to our bunkers....or at least into our basements. I'd rather be in a basement thousands of miles away then close to the park observing Old Faithful.

(There is a very good list of comprehensive links for monitoring earthquakes at Yellowstone below this article - this would be a good article to bookmark and save for future reference - let's hope we don't need to but wisdom is power)

The Yellowstone Caldera

 "At Yellowstone and some other volcanoes, some scientists theorize that the earth's crust fractures and cracks in a concentric or ring-fracture pattern. At some point these cracks reach the magma “reservoir,” release the pressure, and the volcano ex
"At Yellowstone and some other volcanoes, some scientists theorize that the earth's crust fractures and cracks in a concentric or ring-fracture pattern. At some point these cracks reach the magma “reservoir,” release the pressure, and the volcano ex | Source

Your Thoughts on the Yellowstone Super Volcano

Do You Think the Yellowstone Super Volcano Will Erupt During Our Lifetime?

  • No
  • Yes
  • I'm not sure but the thought scares me
See results without voting

Could the Yellowstone Super Volcano Erupt Again?

Geologic information regarding Yellowstone Caldera. From USGS
Geologic information regarding Yellowstone Caldera. From USGS | Source

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Comments 45 comments

jenster profile image

jenster 7 years ago from Bay Area

Wow that is super crazy...I know we have lots of little ones that happen here, but I couldn't imagin if that one blew...I think it would be kinda scary and wonder how that would effect us. Good hub and good thing to be thinking about.

Thanks for sharing,

Jennifer


Mark Pearson profile image

Mark Pearson 7 years ago from UK

I watched a TV program about the super volcano...does not look good if it goes off! Lets hope it stays asleep a while longer


kerryg profile image

kerryg 7 years ago from USA

Great hub! I saw this in the news yesterday and was inspired to write a hub about Ashfall Fossil Beds here in Nebraska, which was formed when the supervolcano blew about 10 million years ago. Back then it was located in Southwestern Idaho, yet it still killed animals 1000 miles away on the Plains. We better hope it doesn't blow again in our lifetimes!

http://hubpages.com/travel/Ashfall-Fossil-Beds


jim10 profile image

jim10 7 years ago from ma

I better visit Yellowstone before it gets covered in lava and black dust. Sounds like it is due to erupt. I know that many animals can sense things like this in advance. So if they start leaving I hope people will follow their advice. Mother nature sure can be scary.


William F. Torpey profile image

William F. Torpey 7 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y.

I only hope somebody (government) develops long-range plans to deal with the eruption should it ever happen. We're not very good at planning ahead in this country (Just think "Katrina.") Thanks for bringing this to our attention, Dorsi.


WeddingConsultant profile image

WeddingConsultant 7 years ago from DC Metro Area

Dorsi, this is a great hub, full of pictures and video and lots of information! The topic of the yellowstone supervolcano has been a hot topic lately, but I never read up on it until now.

Thanks for putting this hub up!


Carolyn 7 years ago

The quakes are continiuing today and it’s not just that there are so many quakes, all but a few quakes are within a mile or two of each other and at every depth between 7.2 km and the surface suggesting pressurized movement along the same chimney right down to the magma chamber at ~ 8 km. The recorded movements may be from heated water or magma but even if only a single magma vent is established, it could depressurize the magma chamber to the point of explosive release of gases from the magma to create the super volcano effect across the whole 70 km caldera. Beyond the global volcanic winter devastating agriculture and the deaths/disease inflicted on all breathing animals from ash inhalation, I am concerned that water pumps cooling nuclear reactors will not survive for long with significant ash contamination in feed water and there should be a plan to dissipate latent heat in reactor cores and spent fuel storage pools given that the heat from radioactive decay will have to be actively dissipated for months after reactor shut down. The only apparent method of preventing the eventual melting and release of the nuclear fuel is to create enough reserve clean water storage to allow long term/continuous containment vessel blow down, (temperature-lowering depressurization of the reactor core by releasing radioactive steam into the containment structure and then into the air), and replacement of evaporated water from spent fuel storage. Although nuclear plants are required to have this reserve water storage, it is already being used to cool spent fuel rods not originally intended for onsite storage and is therefore not available for blow down replacement as that would allow spent fuel to melt. New covered reserve water pools capable of sustaining heavy wet ash loads must therefore be built across the U.S. to accommodate this ash scenario and these reserve pools would have to be considerably larger for longer term blow down and spent fuel cooling. If the nukes are not secured, just add 600 years for the major fission fragments to decay over 20 half lives, (450,000 years for Plutonium to decay to acceptible levels), to the multiple decades of devastation caused by the ash cloud. Katrina would be seen as a comparative lunchtime picnic in a light breeze.


anjalichugh profile image

anjalichugh 7 years ago from New York

God, that's so scary! I watch such programs in Nat Geo channel sometimes. They make it look as if this planet is going to explode anytime. It's just like sitting on a heap of gunpowder and not even knowing that.


Paraglider profile image

Paraglider 7 years ago from Kyle, Scotland

I would have voted "not sure but the thought doesn't scare me", but there wasn't the option! It would indeed be cataclysmic, but no-one ever suggested clinging to the surface of lump of rock was a safe pursuit - life is dangerous, in fact it's fatal, and Yellowstone is just another of the 'little challenges' put in our way. I don't think it's something we can really prepare for, because if this one goes off, it's way out of our league for control. Personally, I think crossing fingers is the best defence!


Catherine Clark 7 years ago

I will start to worry about Yellowstone erupting when we see harmonic tremor. Until then, remember that there are literally thousands of earthquakes at Yellowstone every year; it is quite siesmically active. Most cannot be felt by humans as they are too small.


Constant Walker profile image

Constant Walker 7 years ago from Springfield, Oregon

Dorsi, good subject matter. Scary, isn't it? I wrote a piece about the Yellowstone Super Volcano about eight months ago, and recently - ever since all the activity - it has been getting a LOT of views.

People are clearly worried...


Shirley Anderson profile image

Shirley Anderson 7 years ago from Ontario, Canada

Wow, Dorsi. This is really scarey. I seldom watch the videos, but I did this one. I found an additional element of fear when the firefighter was talking about every man for himself in the event of an eruption. I couldn't help but think of those poor people stuck in the dome in New Orleans. Why is it that survivors feel the need to act that way? It only makes the catastrophe worse.

The idea of the planet being plunged into perma-winter doesn't excite me, either.

I'm curious as to whether or not people are moving out of Rapid City as a precaution. Actually, I guess they'd have to move a few states away, wouldn't they?

Great hub, Dorsi!


Tom Rubenoff profile image

Tom Rubenoff 7 years ago from United States

Thanks for writing this hub. I love this kinda stuff.


Rob Jundt profile image

Rob Jundt 7 years ago from Midwest USA

Thanks for opening many eyes to this potential disaster. Those who read the Word regularly will not be surprised, or fearful of such events. They WILL occur. Preparation is the key. Thanks again!


jayrpascua profile image

jayrpascua 7 years ago

Fascinating subject, the consequences of this thing blowing are huge, I mean it could literally wipe all life off the planet if the predictions on the size of the volcano are correct.


johnr54 profile image

johnr54 7 years ago from Texas

I had not really known about this til I was going over some earth science with my son. The whole Yellowstone area is a fascinating one, so much going on from a geology standpoint.


esocial profile image

esocial 7 years ago from California

Neat hub :) Also saw tv shows on this. Pretty bad if it happens, wow :(


Spa profile image

Spa 7 years ago

A lot of good info. thanks


Dorsi profile image

Dorsi 7 years ago from The San Francisco Bay Area Author

You are welcome everyone who stopped by to visit. As of today there an estimated 900 plus earthquakes that have occurred in the last several weeks at Yellowstone.

They have not stopped, they are being monitored but what it all means is anyones guess. Hopefully they are not a signal of an impending super volcano eruption.

We can only cross our fingers, and hope this is just an unusual swarm of earthquakes. Nature can't be figured out sometimes, can it?


LondonGirl profile image

LondonGirl 7 years ago from London

I'm with paraglider - no point worrying about it.


lover 7 years ago

nation wide is on your side ,,cambelles chicen noodle soup pssibillities


lovey 7 years ago

man dorsi, i love you.


Chuck Lindner 7 years ago

I think that a plan of action similar to the one that many countries are starting to take to reduce greenhouse gases is needed. Plans are also starting on discovering ways to prevent meteor strikes many years in advance. Might it not be possible to somehow cool off the upper magma chamber of a super volcano? I know the difficulties, and expense will be enormous, but we should start developing a plan now. Some of the expense if not all could come from putting electrical power plants in place to utilize the geothermal energy that is accessable.


Tonya C. Harris 7 years ago

IT is hard for me to find the information about the Supervolcano and I just need to knoww is when will the supervolcano have its eruptions and how long will it be before we know that it has erupt,also please tell me so that I can tell my family that they need to stay inside while the ash is falling from the cloud that is covering our sun.


notconcerneduphereinMT 7 years ago

Loved reading this; it's fun to see all the different opinions! I did a project on this pretty recently. I don't think Yellowstone is blowing any time soon. To be honest with you, that bulge in the lake could have been there for hundreds of years for all we know. We really haven't been studying the park for that long compared to how long it's been around, so it's hard to guess at anything. And i wouldn't worry about the earthquakes too much; they're pretty common at Yellowstone. So are earthquake swarms, which is what the park had in December 2008. It was around 500 quakes, but that's fairly normal. I don't think there's any reason to worry; just sit back and enjoy what Yellowstone has to offer! It's a fun visit. (This is just my opinion, i'm no expert on the topic)


Tonya C. Chabot 6 years ago

I think that they are doing the right thing by not getting people worrying and scared so I hope it dose sleep a little longer so they can keep an eye on it just to make sure that it will show more signs but for now lets not get your hopes up yet because we do not know when will it have an eruptions and how long before we see the sun again.


Dorsi profile image

Dorsi 6 years ago from The San Francisco Bay Area Author

Well Yellowstone has been acting up again recently....don't forget to bookmark this page as it has lots of relevant links for quick checking Yellowstone volcano activity, Yellowstone earthquakes and general information on any Yellowstone alerts.

And all we can do is monitor and watch, right?


LillyGrillzit profile image

LillyGrillzit 6 years ago from The River Valley, Arkansas

Dorsi, wonderful topic. It is very frightening, because it will probably change the landscape of the West Coast. Another word for this possible Supervolcano, is Caldera. A caldera is an Extreme volcano. (Just in case people aren't frightened enough). This also opens the search possibilities...Thank you my new friend.


Dorsi profile image

Dorsi 6 years ago from The San Francisco Bay Area Author

Lilly) Thanks. I visited Yellowstone when I was a kid and will never forget being awed by all the amazing natural wonders there were. I didn't know there was a volcano at the time! Thanks for the tips on using caldera for search. I forgot about using that one!


tay 5 years ago

well it is so freaky i could die.


Dolores Monet profile image

Dolores Monet 5 years ago from East Coast, United States

Not sure how I even bumped into this one but now I am scared. Seems like they could shove in a kind of release tube, a real big one, to vent some of the pressure. Volcanoes are totally cool but a super volcano is not.


Dorsi profile image

Dorsi 5 years ago from The San Francisco Bay Area Author

@Dolores) One would think they would have a plan in place to offset this thing blowing. But being mother nature, who knows? Nice to see you Dolores and don't be too worried please!


Donna Suthard profile image

Donna Suthard 5 years ago

Thank you for the great hub! I don't believe it will happen at this time..


Dorsi profile image

Dorsi 5 years ago from The San Francisco Bay Area Author

@Donna) Thanks for coming by and yeah...I hope not!!


jamiesweeney profile image

jamiesweeney 5 years ago from Philadelphia, PA

Well-researched hub! Thanks for sharing.


Dorsi profile image

Dorsi 5 years ago from The San Francisco Bay Area Author

Thank-you Jamie)


Mico Sam profile image

Mico Sam 5 years ago from Irvine, CA

Very interesting hub, I enjoyed it a lot. Lets hope the volcano keeps dormant. http://www.micocrane.com


Shay 4 years ago

Well, now I'm pissing myself from fright..

I was just researching about the big earthquake Utah is in for and stumbled upon this.

Now I have an extreme volcano to worry about.

I can hardly sleep as it is!


Dorsi profile image

Dorsi 4 years ago from The San Francisco Bay Area Author

@Shay) Please don't lose sleep over this! I just put it in Gods hands because really we never know what can happen on any given day. It IS scary to think about Yellowstone volcano going though!


SIDNEYEE 4 years ago

I LOOKED AT VOLCANOES ON SIGHTS I AM SCARED NOT OK NEVER BEEN NEAR NEVER WILL.


Dorsi profile image

Dorsi 4 years ago from The San Francisco Bay Area Author

@Sidneyee) I wouldn't be too worried. We may never see an eruption in our lifetime. We have no control over it if it does though. Sorry your worrying about it...try not to let it overwhelm you though!


moonlake profile image

moonlake 4 years ago from America

It's pretty spooky when watching it on tv. They show how the a side of the lake has swelled up and the water was running out. There is only one thing that would make the lake swell.

We sure can't stop it from happening. Maybe that's the way we're all going to go.


Dorsi profile image

Dorsi 4 years ago from The San Francisco Bay Area Author

@moonlake) I didn't see that documentary on Yellowstone. I'll have to go find that, that's eerie. Eeeee.


Cardozo7 profile image

Cardozo7 4 years ago from Portugal

Really interesting hub but scary also. The truth's is that the swelling is getting bigger every year, it has to blow some way or another.


Dorsi profile image

Dorsi 4 years ago from The San Francisco Bay Area Author

@Cardozo7) Yes I just hope it's not in our lifetime or our childrens lives....

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