Yellowstone National Park

As Earthquakes, Eruptions Rock Rest of World, Yellowstone is Quiet

Two events are spurring discussion of the Yellowstone caldera. The first is the high-profile eruption of the 5,500-foot Eyjafjallaokull volcano in Iceland shut down transatlantic flights after a huge ash plume floated over the continent. It’s been impossible to miss on the news, and for residents of the Yellowstone Ecosystem it’s especially noteworthy: if/when the Yellowstone supervolcano blows it will cause even more havoc, as there are a lot more people living within 1,000 miles of Yellowstone than there are living that close to Iceland. That potential is why you have a lot of people watching every burp associated with the Yellowstone supervolcano, as well as a large contingent of end-of-worlders who see Yellowstone as a portent of End Times.

The other event — and one actually relevant to a discussion of the Yellowstone supervolcano — is a series of earthquakes in Utah, the most recent big one about 77 miles northeast of Salt Lake City, near the town of Randolph. So far 27 earthquakes have been chronicled in the area, with one reaching 4.9 on the Richter scale. If the rate continues, the region would see some 90 earthquakes in a year; last year the region saw 80. So there’s the potential of an uptick, though it’s debatable how serious it is.

Whether the Utah earthquakes are linked at all to potential earthquakes in Yellowstone, of course, remains to be seen. In recent weeks Yellowstone National Park has actually been fairly quiet, with some standard activity highlighted by a 2.1 quake in the Cooke City area. But there’s nothing noted that would cause any alarm, no dramatic rise or fall with the caldera, no sign anything is happening with the supervolcano.

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