More than 800 earthquakes have now been recorded at the Yellowstone Caldera, a long-dormant supervolcano located in Yellowstone National Park, over the last two weeks - an ominous sign that a potentially catastrophic eruption could be brewing. However, despite earthquakes occurring at a frequency unseen during any period in the past five years, the US Geological Survey says the risk level remains in the “green,” unchanged from its normal levels, according to Newsweek.
The biggest earthquake in this “swarm” - which registered a magnitude of 4.4 – took place on June 15, three days after the rumblings started. That quake was the biggest in the region since a magnitude 4.8 earthquake struck close to Norris Geyser Basin in March 2014. This magnitude 4.4 earthquake was so powerful that people felt it in Bozman Montana, about eight miles away.
A scientist from the University of Utah said the quakes have also included five in the magnitude three range, and 68 in the magnitude two range.
“The swarm consists of one earthquake in the magnitude 4 range, five earthquakes in the magnitude 3 range, 68 earthquakes in the magnitude 2 range, 277 earthquakes in the magnitude 1 range, 508 earthquakes in the magnitude 0 range, and 19 earthquakes with magnitudes of less than zero,” the latest report said.
An earthquake with a magnitude less than zero is a very small event that can only be detected with the extremely sensitive instruments used in earthquake monitoring.”
The 'Sunset Lake' hot spring in Yellowstone National Park.
There is normally a rise in seismic activity before a volcano erupts. And scientists currently believe there’s a 10% chance that a “supervolcanic Category 7 eruption” could take place this century, as pointed out by theoretical physicist Michio Kaku.
An eruption, Kaku said, is long overdue: The last one occurred 640,000 years ago.
To be sure, the swarm has slowed down considerably this week, and larger swarms have been recorded in the past, according to Jacob Lowenstern, the scientists in charge of the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory.
Yet the possibility that the volcano could be on the verge of what’s called a “supereruption” should be enough to give the government pause. But scientists have said recently that there’s some evidence to suggest the next one could occur this century.
"Grand Prismatic" Hot Spring at Yellowstone.
So how would a supervolcanic eruption at Yellowstone impact the regional ecosystem, and the US more broadly? Well, as Liberty Blog’s Michael Snyder points out, it would be nothing short of catastrophic.
Hundreds of cubic miles of ash, rock and lava would be blasted into the atmosphere, and this would likely plunge much of the northern hemisphere into several days of complete darkness. Virtually everything within 100 miles of Yellowstone would be immediately killed, but a much more cruel fate would befall those living in major cities outside of the immediate blast zone such as Salt Lake City and Denver.
Hot volcanic ash, rock and dust would rain down on those cities literally for weeks. In the end, it would be extremely difficult for anyone living in those communities to survive. In fact, it has been estimated that 90 percent of all people living within 600 miles of Yellowstone would be killed.
Experts project that such an eruption would dump a layer of volcanic ash that is at least 10 feet deep up to 1,000 miles away, and approximately two-thirds of the United States would suddenly become uninhabitable. The volcanic ash would severely contaminate most of our water supplies, and growing food in the middle of the country would become next to impossible.
In other words, it would be the end of our country as we know it today.
The rest of the planet, and this would especially be true for the northern hemisphere, would experience what is known as a “nuclear winter”. An extreme period of “global cooling” would take place, and temperatures around the world would fall by up to 20 degrees. Crops would fail all over the planet, and severe famine would sweep the globe.
In the end, billions could die.
So yes, this is a threat that we should take seriously.