Scott Burns says that the high intensity of seismic activity near the Yellowstone volcano site could result in a volcanic eruption.
Burns is a geology professor at Portland State University. He was speaking while commenting on the high number of tremors at the site.
He claims that these tremors are usually an indication that “magma is moving up underneath there.”
Over the month of June alone, there have been 81 earthquakes.
While the fact that the area gets a lot of earthquakes is nothing new, Burns is concerned that their increased frequency is a clear warning sign that the volcano is very close to erupting.
According to the expert, the rate at which these quakes are taking place is a warning sign that magma is trying to find its way to the surface. If that happens, the effects could be devastating, not just for the nearby region, but for the entire country. However, those living close the blast radius of the volcano would the worst of it.
It is not just the volcano that has experienced increased activity. Yellowstone’s Steamboat Geyser has also been very active over the month of June. For the first time, the geyser erupted twice over a span of three days when it went off on June 12 and again on June 15.
But experts insist that there is nothing to be worried about as far as the geyser activity goes, as it is not related in any way to the volcanic activity being witnessed.
Sure, the magma can provide the heat that would make the geyser more active, but that in itself does not indicate that an eruption is about to take place. This was revealed by Janine Krippner, a volcanologist through a number of tweets she posted on her account.
“Yellowstone has an incredible geyser system that is unrelated to magmatic activity,” she said. She went on to claim that the magmatic system basically provides the heat.
But despite Burns’ alarming concerns, other experts are not fully convinced there is anything to worry about as far as a volcanic eruption happening at Yellowstone goes.
For instance, according to Jamie Farrell, “Earthquake swarms are pretty common at Yellowstone.” He went on to claim that there was no indication that this particular swarm had any links to magma moving through the shallow crust.
But for the experts that have pondered the possibility that an eruption would happen, there is a consensus that the impact would be far-reaching. They predict that the incident could very well change civilization.
First of all, 87,000 people would die instantly following the blast, and then over half of all the U.S. would be uninhabitable. A nuclear winter would also be part of the deal since the cloud of ash that would end up in the sky would block out the sun.
Whatever the case, there have been similar concerns about the area in the past. In 2014, the worst earthquake to affect the area in many years hit the region. Although there had been regular earthquakes in the area before, they were not usually this powerful. At least not in over 30 years.
But the area is known to record between 1 and 20 earthquakes in a day, on average. But in January 2010, the area had more than 250 earthquakes in just two days!