Earthquake hits near Yellowstone volcano: Town hit near national park | Science | News

A magnitude 3.8 earthquake hit Hoback in Wyoming – about 60 miles from the massive caldera.

The earthquake hit late afternoon yesterday (Wednesday 23).

The powerful tremor caused mild shakes with experts saying it is nothing to worry about and small earthquakes around the region are common.

Just hours before the earthquake hit, scientists released a report on Wednesday 23 saying the most dangerous thing at Yellowstone is not an eruption, but an earthquake registering seven on the Richter scale.

Yellowstone Volcano Observatory (YVO) scientist Michael Poland told USA Today: “The biggest concern we have for Yellowstone is not with the volcano, it’s with earthquakes.

“This is an under appreciated hazard in the Yellowstone area. There can and will be in the future magnitude 7 earthquakes.”

Scientists have warned a small earthquake can be a precursor to a larger one.

Thomas Jordan, head of the Southern California Earthquake Center, told the Los Angeles Times last year that any time there is seismic activity on a fault zone, “the probability of having a large earthquake goes up”.

Some even say that when there are tremors around a volcano, it is a sign the magma is recharging and could lead to an explosion.

However, seismologists state minor earthquakes occur in the Yellowstone area around 50 times a week and there is nothing to worry about – for now at least.

The Yellowstone Caldera supervolcano last erupted 70,000 years ago.

If the volcano was to erupt it would kill an estimated 87,000 people immediately and make two-thirds of the USA immediately uninhabitable.

The large spew of ash into the atmosphere would block out sunlight and directly affect life beneath it creating a “nuclear winter”.

The massive eruption could be a staggering 6,000 times as powerful as the one from Washington’s Mount St Helens in 1980 which killed 57 people and deposited ash in 11 different states and five Canadian provinces.

If the volcano explodes, a climate shift would ensue as the volcano would spew massive amounts of sulphur dioxide into the atmosphere, which can form a sulphur aerosol that reflects and absorbs sunlight.

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