The Yellowstone supervolcano was recently hit with over 450 earthquakes. Scientists have been monitoring the area since the quakes first began on June 12. Though the Yellowstone’s supervolcano is notorious for its potential to erupt catastrophically, there do not appear to be signs that the earthquakes will trigger an eruption.
Geologists already have monitoring systems surrounding the supervolcano, designed to detect seismicity underground and provide valuable data for researchers to better understand the volcano. Researchers believe the most recent swarm of earthquakes was a result of the magma within the supervolcano moving through channels.
The largest earthquake, reaching a 4.5 magnitude, was the largest to hit Yellowstone since March of 2014 when a 4.8 magnitude earthquake struck the area. The majority of the earthquakes stayed below magnitude 1 and within the upper 9 miles of the crust.
Though this isn’t the first earthquake swarm to hit the area, it is the first in seven years. Scientists were able to detect the shake quickly because of active monitoring. The event was eventually marked as “green” by the USGS, meaning that geologists do not expect any imminent threat. That’s good news, given that the supervolcano holds a devastating power.
Still, scientists can safely say the Yellowstone supervolcano will erupt again—and it’s nearly impossible to predict the date of the eruption. The USGS estimates the probability of a large eruption from Yellowstone is 1 in 730,000 over the coming year. More likely, an eruption in the coming year would be relatively small—on the scale of Mount St. Helens.
Source: Forbes, IFL Science