Yellowstone "super volcano"-Disputed!

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