Laying underneath the tranquil and beautiful geysers, waterfalls, and mountains of Wyoming lies the Yellowstone caldera. The supervolcano has been worrying some for decades, but now experts fear an eruption could happen soon after reporting a “spate of tremors.”
According to WMD, a spate of four mini-tremors in the area following a period of “rest” has raised fears among some that the supervolcano is about to blow. Although the Yellowstone supervolcano hasn’t erupted for 631,000 years, scientists have been diligently working to understand the last eruption so they can more accurately predict when a big one will happen again.
The most recent quake came on March 11 when a small 1.5 tremor took place beneath the surface. The strongest one, a 1.8 magnitude earthquake, came just hours before this, and people are concerned that Yellowstone could be about to blow.
The growing concern among the public is evident, but many scientists still say the activity at the supervolcano is perfectly normal. Tom Skilling, a meteorologist for WGN News, a local news site in Chicago, explains that is it normal for the volcano to have less active weeks. “Minor earthquakes occur in the Yellowstone area 50 or more times per week, but a major eruption is not expected in the foreseeable future.”
Yellowstone is one of the most seismically active areas in the world and there are regular earthquakes detected in and around the supervolcano. This latest spate of tremors follows a period in February where more than 200 small tremors detected were detected over a period of 10 days. According to experts with the US Geological Survey, that swarm began on February 8 in a region roughly eight miles northeast of West Yellowstone, Montana and increased dramatically in the days following.
Despite experts trying to calm nerves, concerned citizens have taken to Twitter to voice their concern about a potential eruption. One person wrote on Twitter: “Pray to Yellowstone caldera. We can end it all.” RyGuy said on the social media site: “Yellowstone’s gonna blow up and get us all”.
If the volcano does explode, a climate shift would ensue as the supervolcano would spew massive amounts of sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere, which can form a sulfur aerosol that reflects and absorbs sunlight. The large spew of ash into the atmosphere would block out sunlight and directly affect life beneath it creating a “nuclear winter.”