The Yellowstone supervolcano has erupted three times in the past 2.1 million years and some say we are overdue for another. What are the chances that it will erupt within our lifetime and leave the human race fighting for survival?
Scientists have noticed the land above the caldera rising slowly since 2004. In fact, over the last eight years the ground has risen as much as ten inches in some places throughout the park. While this may sound like a sign the volcano is destined to erupt soon, University of Utah geophysicist Robert B. Smith believes we are in no imminent danger.
“These calderas tend to go up and down, up and down,” Smith said.
For example, records show that between 1976 and 1984 the caldera rose 7 inches. Then, without a major eruption, the ground sank 5.5 inches through the next ten years, almost back to normal. While the ground rising could be evidence of a coming eruption, the more important fact is if the magma is rising.
“At the beginning we were concerned it could be leading up to an eruption,” Smith said, “but once we saw [the magma] was at a depth of ten kilometers we weren’t so concerned.”
The United States Geological Survey is not concerned either. They have officially stated that a devastating eruption is highly improbably within the next five to ten generations.
So while it looks like we have nothing to worry about, mother nature is still a very unpredictable force. Just in case, stay tuned for survival tips and necessary gear in case of a Yellowstone Eruption.
For more information, check out Questions About Future Volcanic Activity at Yellowstone.