Yellowstone : Can Swarms Trigger an Eruption?

You’ve probably heard of the Yellowstone Caldera which is a volcano that’s placed below the Yellowstone National Park. It is located between Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming. The United States Geological Survey has its eyes on it regularly because if an eruption occurs, that can mean a disaster on a global scale. An eruption hasn’t happened for more than 630.000 years, which actually makes another eruption overdue.

Swarms are dangerous

Today, an earthquake with the magnitude of 3.1 has happened in Manhattan, Montana at just 100 miles from the Yellowstone Caldera. It is true, the earthquake was small, but scientists are still interested in it because swarm can happen and we can see hundreds of small earthquakes in short periods.

The United States Geological Survey has said that ever since 1973,  there have been about 48,000 earthquakes that took place in the Yellowstone region, and about 99% of these earthquakes have a magnitude of 2 or even smaller, and people did not feel them.

There are small swarms and large swarms at Yellowstone

The earthquake swarms that we were talking about an earlier show about 50% of the earthquakes that take place in Yellowstone. They can actually happen anywhere in Yellowstone, but they mostly occur in the east-west region, between the Norris Geyser Basin and the Hebgen Lake.

Most of these swarms are quite small. They are made out of 10 to 20 earthquakes, and they last for 1 to 2 days. However, some of the large swarms can have about 1000 earthquakes, and they can last for months when they take place.

Why are the swarms dangerous?

They are a threat because they can start a volcanic eruption, but scientists are not sure how. They think that volcanic activity can happen as a response to a changing in the pressure that surrounds the magma reservoir system. This comes as a consequence of the ground shaking that’s caused by the earthquake.

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Meagan Kozlovs

About the Author: Meagan Kozlovs

Meagan Kozlovs is a reporter for Debate Report. She’s worked and interned at Global News Toronto  and CHECX. Megan is based in Toronto and covers issues affecting her city. In addition to her severe milk shake addiction, she’s a Netflix enthusiast, a red wine drinker, and a voracious reader.

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