48 Hour Red Alert !! NASA Warning There will be and Earthquakes Around YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK Area

Yellowstone National Park, which sits atop one of the world’s largest super-volcanoes, was struck on Sunday by a magnitude 4.8 earthquake, the biggest recorded there since February 1980, but no damage or injuries were immediately reported.

The tremor, a relatively light event by seismic standards, struck the northwest corner of the park and capped a flurry of smaller quakes at Yellowstone since Thursday, geologists at the University of Utah Seismograph Stations said in a statement.

YELLOWSTONE volcano’s ground is slowly creeping upward around its most active geyser basin, USGS officials have revealed after seismographs have confirmed more than 120 earthquakes across Yellowstone Park.null

Yellowstone volcano

super-volcano, calderas 2805 m / 9,203 feet, Wyoming, USA, 44.43°N / -110.67°W

Nearby recent earthquakes (within 30km radius):

  • Time Mag. / Depth Distance Location Map Source
  • Tue, 19 Mar 2019
  • Tue, 19 Mar 18:41 UTC M 1.5 / 4.4 km – [info] 31 km United States 37km NE of Old Faithful Geyser, Wyoming (USA)
  • [Map] USGS
  • Tue, 19 Mar 11:36 UTC M 0.4 / 3.3 km – [info] 7 km United States 16km SE of Old Faithful Geyser, Wyoming (USA)
  • [Map] USGS
  • Tue, 19 Mar 11:07 UTC M 1.4 / 3.2 km – [info] 9 km United States 17km SE of Old Faithful Geyser, Wyoming (USA)
  • [Map] USGS
  • Tue, 19 Mar 10:57 UTC M 0.7 / 10.6 km – [info] 55 km United States 12km NNW of West Yellowstone, Montana (USA)
  • [Map] USGS
  • Tue, 19 Mar 06:35 UTC M 1.1 / 2.2 km – [info] 22 km United States 23km S of Old Faithful Geyser, Wyoming (USA)
  • [Map] USGS
  • Sun, 17 Mar 2019
  • Sun, 17 Mar 16:15 UTC M 0.3 / 8.6 km – [info] 44 km United States 16km NE of West Yellowstone, Montana (USA)
  • [Map] USGS
  • Sun, 17 Mar 16:03 UTC M 1.5 / 10.4 km – [info] 44 km United States 15km NE of West Yellowstone, Montana (USA)
  • [Map] USGS
  • Fri, 15 Mar 2019
  • Fri, 15 Mar 16:31 UTC M 1.5 / 10.8 km – [info] 35 km United States 24km WSW of Old Faithful Geyser, Wyoming (USA)
  • [Map] USGS
  • Fri, 15 Mar 01:55 UTC M 1.1 / 1.8 km – [info] 34 km United States 37km NE of Old Faithful Geyser, Wyoming (USA)
  • [Map] USGS
  • Fri, 15 Mar 01:22 UTC M 1.3 / 1.8 km – [info] 34 km United States 37km NE of Old Faithful Geyser, Wyoming (USA)
  • [Map] USGS
  • Thu, 14 Mar 2019
  • Thu, 14 Mar 14:09 UTC M 0.8 / 4.8 km – [info] 41 km United States 25km ENE of West Yellowstone, Montana (USA)
  • [Map] USGS
  • Thu, 14 Mar 13:59 UTC M 1.1 / 4.3 km – [info] 41 km United States 25km ENE of West Yellowstone, Montana (USA)
  • [Map] USGS
  • Thu, 14 Mar 06:13 UTC M 1.4 / 6.3 km – [info] 46 km United States 58km SE of Old Faithful Geyser, Wyoming (USA)
  • [Map] USGS
  • Thu, 14 Mar 00:16 UTC M 0.8 / 9.4 km – [info] 24 km United States 14km NNW of Old Faithful Geyser, Wyoming (USA)
  • [Map] USGS
  • Wed, 13 Mar 2019
  • Wed, 13 Mar 20:28 UTC M 2.0 / 5 km – [info] 46 km United States Yellowstone Nat. Park, Wyoming (USA)
  • [Map] EMSC
  • Wed, 13 Mar 16:49 UTC M 2.3 / 4 km – [info] 47 km United States Yellowstone Nat. Park, Wyoming (USA) null
  • Updated: Wed, 20 Mar 16:04 UTC (GMT)null

Yellowstone volcano officials are paying attention to an ongoing shift in the supervolcano’s landscape, which began as early as 2015. Yellowstone’s Norris Geyser Basin, Yellowstone’s hottest geyser basin, witnessed ground levels rise by almost an inch last year. Officials from the United States Geological Survey (USGS) confirmed in the latest Yellowstone activity update, the basin rose by 0.78 inches (2cm) in 2018. GPS data collected throughout the Yellowstone volcanic caldera suggests this part of the national park has been rising for at least three years now.

The ancient super-volcano, or caldera, that lies beneath the surface of the park was discovered by scientists in recent years to be 2.5 times larger than previously thought, measured at 30 miles wide, according to the park.

Sunday’s quake occurred near the center of an area of ground uplift that geologists have been tracking for several months, University of Utah seismologists said. Elevated seismic activity was also found in the area during a previous period of uplift from 1996 to 2003.

The recent spike in earthquake activity at Yellowstone is linked to the uplift, which in turn is caused by the upward movement of molten rock beneath the Earth’s crust, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

What will happen if Yellowstone BLOWS?

If the supervolcano underneath Yellowstone National Park ever had another massive eruption, it could spew ash for thousands of miles across the United States, damaging buildings, smothering crops, and shutting down power plants. It’d be a huge disaster.


But that doesn’t mean we should all start freaking out. The odds of that happening are thankfully pretty low. The Yellowstone supervolcano — thousands of times more powerful than a regular volcano — has only had three truly enormous eruptions in history. One occurred 2.1 million years ago, one 1.3 million years ago, and one 664,000 years ago.

And despite what you sometimes hear in the press, there’s no indication that we’re due for another “super-eruption” anytime soon. In fact, it’s even possible that Yellowstone might never have an eruption that large again.

Even so, the Yellowstone supervolcano remains an endless source of apocalyptic fascination — and it’s not hard to see why. In September 2014, a team of scientists published a paper in Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems exploring what a Yellowstone super-eruption might actually look like.

Among other things, they found the volcano was capable of burying states like Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, and Colorado in three feet of harmful volcanic ash — a mix of splintered rock and glass — and blanket the Midwest. That much ash could kill plants and animals, crush roofs, and short all sorts of electrical equipment:

Ash, ash, everywhere

yellowstone super-eruption ash

An example of the possible distribution of ash from a month-long Yellowstone supereruption. (US Geological Survey)

When I called up one of the study’s co-authors, Jacob Lowenstern of the US Geological Survey, he stressed that the paper was not any sort of prediction of the future. “Even if Yellowstone did erupt again, you probably wouldn’t get that worst-case scenario,” he says. “What’s much, much more common are small eruptions — that’s a point that often gets ignored in the press.” (And even those small eruptions are very rare.)

Lowenstern is the Scientist-In-Charge of the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory in Menlo Park, California. So I talked to him further about what we actually know about the Yellowstone supervolcano, what its eruptions might look like, and why the odds of disaster are low.

What is the Yellowstone supervolcano?

yellowstone side view

(National Park Service)

Lurking beneath Yellowstone National Park is a reservoir of hot magma five miles deep, fed by a gigantic plume of molten rock welling up from hundreds of miles below. That heat is responsible for many of the park’s famous geysers and hot springs. And as magma rises up into the chamber and cools, the ground above periodically rises and falls.


On rare occasions throughout history, that magma chamber haserupted. The vast, vast majority of those eruptions in Yellowstone have been smaller lava flows — with the last occurring at Pitchstone Plateau some 70,000 years ago.

But the reason why Yellowstone gets so much attention is the remote possibility of catastrophic “super-eruptions.” A super-eruption is anything that measures magnitude 8 or more on the Volcano Explosivity Index, in which at least 1,000 cubic kilometers (or 240 cubic miles) of material gets ejected. That’s enough to bury Texas five feet deep.

These super-eruptions are thousands of times more powerful than even the biggest eruptions we’re used to. Here’s a chart from USGS comparing the Yellowstone super-eruptions with the Mt. St. Helens eruption of 1980. The difference is staggering:

Super-eruptions vs ordinary eruptions

super-eruptions vs ordinary eruptions

(US Geological Survey)

Yellowstone has had three of these really massive eruptions in its history — 2.1 million years ago, 1.3 million years ago, and 664,000 years ago. The last of those, at Yellowstone Lava Creek, ejected so much material from below that it left a 34-mile-by-50-mile depression in the ground — what we see today as the Yellowstone Caldera:

Location of past Yellowstone super-eruptions

yellowstone map

(National Park Service)

It’s worth noting that Yellowstone is hardly the onlysupervolcano out there — geologists have found evidence of at least 47 super-eruptions in Earth’s history. The most recent occurred in New Zealand’s Lake Taupo some 26,000 years ago.

More dramatically, there was the gargantuan Toba eruption 74,000 years ago, caused by shifting tectonic plates. That triggered a dramatic 6- to 10-year global winter and (according to some) may have nearly wiped out the nascent human race.

On average, the Earth has seen roughly one super-eruption every 100,000 years, although that’s not an ironclad law.

So what would a Yellowstone eruption look like?

Let’s reiterate that the odds of any sort of Yellowstone eruption, big or small, are very low. But if we’re speaking hypothetically…

The most likely eruption scenario in Yellowstone is a smaller event that produced lava flows (similar to what’s happening at Iceland’s Bárðarbunga right now) and possible a typical volcanic explosion. This would likely be precipitated by a swarm of earthquakes in a specific region of the park as the magma made its way to the surface.


Now, in the unlikely event of a much bigger super-eruption, the warning signs would be much bigger. “We’d likely first see intense seismic activity across the entire park,” Lowenstern says. It could take weeks or months for those earthquakes to break up the rocks above the magma before an eruption.

And what if we did get a super-eruption — an event that was 1,000 times more powerful than a regular volcanic eruption, ejected at least 240 cubic miles of material, and lasted weeks or months? The lava flows themselves would be contained within a relatively small radius within the park — say, 40 miles or so. In fact, only about one-third of the material would actually make it up into the atmosphere.

The main damage would come from volcanic ash — a combination of splintered rock and glass — that was ejected miles into the air and scattered around the country. In their new paper, Lowenstern and his colleagues looked at both historical ash deposits and advanced modeling to conclude that an eruption would create an umbrella cloud, expanding even in all directions. (This was actually a surprising finding.)

A super-eruption could conceivably bury the northern Rockies in three feet of ash — devastating large swaths of Wyoming, Idaho, Colorado, Montana, and Utah. Meanwhile, the Midwest would get a few inches of ash, while both coasts would see even smaller amounts. The exact distribution would depend on the time of year and weather patterns:

Modeling the spread of ash from a Yellowstone super-eruption

yellowstone ash

Any of those scenarios would be terrible news. That much volcanic ash is capable of killing people, plants, and animals and crushing buildings. Even a few inches of ash (which is what much of the country can get) can destroy farms, clog roadways, cause serious respiratory problems, block sewer lines, and even short out transformers. Air travel would have to shut down across much of North America.


A volcanic eruption that big would also have major effects on the global climate. Volcanoes can emit sulfur aerosols that reflect sunlight back into the atmosphere cool the climate. These particles are short-lived in the atmosphere, so the effect is only temporary, but it can still be dramatic.

When Pinatubo erupted in 1991, it cooled the planet by about 1°C (1.8°F) for a few years. The Tambora eruption in 1815 cooled the planet enough to damage crops around the world — possibly leading to famines in some areas. And those were relatively tiny eruptions compared to what a supervolcano is, in theory, capable of.

The volcanic hotspot is sloooooowly moving northeast

path of yellowstone hotspot

A global disaster never witnessed by mankind may one day explode over Yellowstone National Park. Ordinary volcanoes can kill thousands of people and even wipe out entire cities. But it is thought a supervolcano, such as the one lying dormant under Yellowstone, could kill a billion and flatten North America.

And the most recent violent eruption threatened to split the US approximately 640,000 years ago, forming the Yellowstone caldera as we know it today in the process.

This means Yellowstone eruptions have historically taken place approximately every 650,000 years, leaving some to fear Yellowstone is now overdue another eruption.

“A super-eruption is the world’s biggest bang”, says Professor Bill McGuire of the Benfield Greig Hazard Research Centre at the University of London.

“It’s a volcanic explosion big enough to dwarf all others and with a reach great enough to affect everyone on the planet”.

Scientists believe Yellowstone is now one of the most unpredictable and deadly threats faced by humanity.


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