Yellowstone Earthquake Threat High In 2014, Says USGS; What Does This Mean For A Volcano Eruption?
The threat of the Yellowstone volcano blowing its top has some people fearing the possibility since a supervolcano eruption has the power of a nuclear explosion. But if the United States Geological Survey (USGS) now says the Yellowstone earthquake threat is high, then is there any reason to worry in the coming years?
In a related report by The Inquisitr, a Mount Fuji eruption is feared since it’s said the famous Japanese mountain is in a “critical state.”
Yellowstone conspiracy theory supporters claim USGS is hiding earthquake data in order to prevent national panic, and when it was claimed the National Guard was preparing for an “event” at Yellowstone National Park, the conspiracy theorist websites took that information and ran with it. To a certain extent, these fears are justified. For example, the British Geological Survey claims the threat of a supervolcano is more likely than the dangers posed by global warming or World War 3.
But to put those fears into perspective, as we recently reported, the USGS calculates theodds against a Yellowstone volcano eruption as 730,000 to one, and a premier researcher named Dr. Robert Smith claims the odds are 1,000,000 to 1, which some may find comforting. Even though asphalt roads melting sounds scary, it’s actually a regularly occurring event and the damage was already repaired.
But the fires of controversy may be stoked once again since the USGS has updated its national seismic hazard maps for the first time since 2008. As you can see, some of the higher risk areas (shown in red) happen to be centered around Yellowstone National Park:
Here is a map showing Yellowstone’s location for comparison purposes:
One of the biggest Yellowstone earthquakes in recent times was measured as a 4.8 magnitude in March of 2014, making it the biggest recorded quake in the area since February of 1980. Although there was a swarm of earthquakes reported in June of 2014, most of them were closer to a 3.0 magnitude or less.
But studies of the recent seismic data may indicate that the odds of a Yellowstone volcano eruption may actually be less than previously believed. Although the amount of magma in the Yellowstone caldera was found to be 2.5 times bigger than previously estimated, University of Utah geophysicist Bob Smith used earthquake data from the last 26 years to map the composition of the caldera in order to determine its volatility, and the results were good news.
According to Smith, the amount of the magma chamber that is molten is less than previously thought:
“The percentage of actual melt in Yellowstone is only about 10 percent. We see anywhere from 7 to 13 or 14 percent, depending on where we do the calculation.”
It was previously believed the magma chamber was 32 percent molten. This greatly influences the chance of a Yellowstone supervolcano eruption in our lifetimes, because volcano experts believe a magma chamber filled with a higher percentage of solid materials are less likely to erupt.
What do you think about the Yellowstone volcano eruption conspiracy theories? Does the higher threat of earthquakes cause you to worry about a supervolcano, or do you think it’s not worth losing sleep over?