Seeing Yellowstone in the news a lot lately?
Worried it's going to blow? No need for panic, here are some things to keep in mind:
- Ignore headlines claiming "the volcano is going to blow any day now!"
Experts at Yellowstone Volcano Observatory are monitoring the volcano 24/7, and the current status of the volcano is "normal" and "green". These are two indications that the volcano is in its typical, non-eruptive state.
- You might be wondering, "What's going to happen if it erupts again? Will it be catastrophic?"
Yellowstone has experienced 23 smaller-scale eruptions after its last supereruption ~631,000 years ago. If the volcano were to erupt again, it is much more probable that it would be one of these smaller-scale eruptions. (A "burp" in comparison to a supereruption).
- Our publication covered in the New York Times investigated the magmatic events that likely led to the last supereruption ~631,000 years ago. Although our results suggest a magmatic recharge event occurred on the order of years (decades at most) prior to eruption, this does not equate to a prediction of a future eruption. Instead, this information can be used in a potential future eruption as a stopwatch between the detection of unusual activity and eruption.
- It's important to always consider the source when reading headlines on the internet and use our best critical reasoning. For a clear explanation dispelling myths about the volcano, read the Snopes.com article published in response to over-sensationalized headlines.
Last updated October 2019