A “Super Volcano” is Threatening Yellowstone National Park in The United StatesDisputed!


Summary of eRumor:

Changes in Yellowstone National Park may be signs of the overdue eruption of a “super volcano” underneath the park.

The Truth:

This is one of those stories that is based on some actual events happening at Yellowstone National Park.
The exact truth of it, however, is difficult to determine, primarily because it’s impossible to predict when volcanic and geologic events are going to take place.
The experts we’ve talked with at the National Park Service and the U.S. Geologic Survey, however, feel that the eRumor is exaggerated and may cause undue alarm.

Yellowstone National Park is a unique visitor’s destination with fascinating geothermal wonders such as the famous “Old Faithful” geyser.
Occupying portions of Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming, it was the first of the United States’ National Parks.

According to a park spokesperson, that it is believed that a part of what resulted in Yellowstone National park was a massive volcanic eruption about 600,000 years ago and the area is actively volcanic.
The park sits atop a huge underground volcano and conditions in the park are constantly monitored by scientists.

But most of what is being observed now is believed by scientists to be the result of geothermal activity, not volcanic.

Regarding the areas that were closed to visitors at the Norris Geyser basin, the park says there are “annual disturbances” that this year were longer than normal and resulted in the formation of many new steam vents and higher ground temperatures.
Some vegetation near the hottest areas died because of the heat.
The areas closed to visitors as a precaution re-opened in October 2003.
The USGS issued a statement in 2003 saying that the events in the Norris basin were not thought to be volcanic but they were notable and are being watched with concern.

Some of the eRumors about Yellowstone refer to an underground bulge in Yellowstone Lake, which like much of Yellowstone Park is in an area very active with various hydrothermal events.
This was described in a 2003 report from USGS researcher Lisa Morgan as “the inflated plain.”
She noted an area about 2000 feet long that rises about 100 feet above the lake floor.
The USGS says they regard it as the result of a buildup of gas, which has happened elsewhere in the lake.
There is fear that it could be the signal of a major “hydrothermal explosion” when the water that feeds Yellowstone’s geysers and hot springs is flashed to steam .Further research will be done to see if anything else could be causing the bulge.

They do not regard it as being of any danger to visitors to Yellowstone Park and that the bulge may have been there for decades or longer.

The USGS also says that all the activity in Yellowstone at the moment seems to be from hydrothermal activity rather than volcanic eruptions and that craters appear to be from either collapse or old hydrothermal explosions.

But as with any volcanically active area, that can change.

Last updated 11/25/03

A real example of the eRumor as it has appeared on the Internet:

Version #1

Super Volcano In Yellowstone National Park

  Source: United States Geological Survey, University of Utah, The BBC

  It is little known that lying underneath one of the United States’ largest
and most picturesque National Parks – Yellowstone Park – is one of the
largest “super volcanoes” in the world.

  The term “super volcano” has no specifically- defined scientific meaning.
It was used by the producers of The BBC TV show Horizion in 2000 to refer to
volcanoes that have generated the Earth’s largest volcanic eruptions. As
such, a super volcano would be one that has produced an exceedingly large,
catastrophic explosive eruption and a giant caldera.

Scientists have revealed that Yellowstone Park has been on a regular
eruption cycle of every 600,000 years. The last eruption was 640,000 years
ago.so the next is overdue. It’s estimated the next eruption could be 2,500
times that of the 1980 Mount St. Helens eruption. Volcanologists have been
tracking the movement of magma under the park and have calculated that in
parts of Yellowstone the ground has risen over seventy centimeters this

Around the world there are several other volcanic areas that can be
considered “super volcanoes”- Long Valley in eastern California, Toba in
Indonesia, and Taupo in New Zealand.  Other “super volcanoes” include the
large caldera volcanoes of Japan, Indonesia and Alaska (e.g. Aniakchak,
Emmons, Fisher).

A correspondent recently received a letter from her sister with the
following update:

October 6, 2003

Dear Sis:

I just haven’t had time to send you the info on Yellowstone.

In July the Park rangers closed the entire Norris Geyser Basin because of
the deformation of the land and the excess temperature. There is an area
there that is 28 miles long by 7 miles wide that has bulged upward over five
inches since 1996, and this year the ground temperature on that bulge has
reached over 200 degrees. There was no choice but to close off the whole

Everything in that area is dying. The trees, flowers, grass, etc. A dead
zone is developing and spreading outward. The animals are literally
migrating out of the park. This isn’t hearsay. It’s coming from people who
have actually visited the park in just the last few weeks.

Then the last part of July one of the Park geologists
discovered a huge bulge at the bottom of Yellowstone Lake.  The bulge has
already risen over 100 feet from the bottom of the lake, and the water
temperature at the surface of the bulge has reached 88 degrees and is still
rising. Keep in mind that Yellowstone Lake is a high mountain lake with very
cold water temperature.

The Lake is now closed to the public. It is filled with dead fish floating
everywhere. The same is true of the Yellowstone river and most of the other
streams in the Park. Dead and dying fish are filling the water everywhere.
Many of the picnic areas in the Park have been closed and people that are
visiting the Park don’t stay but a few hours or a day or two and leave. The
stench of sulphur is so strong that they literally can’t stand the smell.

The irony of all this is that not one word of this is being brought to
public attention by the news media or by our government which is supposed to
be “protecting” us.

But, believe it or not, just last week a British newspaper broke the story
about Yellowstone National Park being “a threat to the entire world.” Sis,
Yellowstone is what geologists call a “super volcano.” There is a massive
caldera of molten fire beneath Yellowstone National Park. When this thing
blows, geologists are saying that every living thing within six hundred
miles is likely to die. Yet our wonderful news media is not telling the
public a thing about this. They are keeping it suppressed so that it won’t
effect the “economy.”

When this things explodes it will produce an ash cloud that will cover the
entire western U.S. clear to the Pacific on the west, British Columbia on
the north, the Mexican border on the south, and then out into the Dakotas,
Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas on the east.

And then the clould will blow east because of the prevailing winds,
literally covering the entire nation with volcanic ash. And the American
people are not even being told that the explosion of this “super volcano” is
imminent. There is no question that this thing is going to explode
momentarily as movement of magma has been detected just three-tenths of a
mile below the bulging surface of the ground in Yellowstone. Your Sister

Version #2

A Monster Awakens?
By Ian Gurney
       “In the heart of America lies a monster that could destroy life on
       Part of America’s Yellowstone National Park was closed to visitors
on July 23rd. this year and remains closed today due to high ground
temperatures and increased thermal activity in the park. National Park
Superintendent Suzanne Lewis said that “A portion of the Norris Geyser
Basin on the west side of the park has been closed.”


       Initially this should be of little or no consequence to anyone apart
from those planning to visit Yellowstone…………………
       except for one thing. Lurking beneath Yellowstone National Park is one of the most destructive natural phenomena in the world – a massive
super volcano.
       Only a handful exist in the world but when one erupts the explosion
will be heard around the globe. The sky will darken, black acid rain will
fall, and the Earth will be plunged into the equivalent of a nuclear
winter. It could push humanity to the brink of extinction.

Version #3

he Norris Back Basin has been closed since July 23,
2003, after formation of new mud pots, changes in
geyser activity, and significantly increased ground
temperatures (up to 200 degrees Fahrenheit) in some
areas near the Back Basin trail. Additional observations
include vegetation dying due to thermal activity and the
changing of several geysers’ eruption intervals.  The
heightened rate of steam discharge has continued to
the present time. 

he Norris Back Basin has been closed since July 23,
2003, after formation of new mud pots, changes in
geyser activity, and significantly increased ground
temperatures (up to 200 degrees Fahrenheit) in some
areas near the Back Basin trail. Additional observations
include vegetation dying due to thermal activity and the
changing of several geysers’ eruption intervals.  The
heightened rate of steam discharge has continued to
the present time.  

The Yellowstone Volcano Observatory (YVO) is a
collaborative partnership between the U.S. Geological
Survey, the University of Utah and Yellowstone National
Park. The Yellowstone seismic and GPS network
consists of a modern digitally telemetered network of
22 seismographs and 5 permanent GPS receivers
throughout Yellowstone National Park in support of the
YVO and an NSF project focused on the Yellowstone
hotspot.  These networks are operated and recorded by
the University of Utah._______________