Seeing Yellowstone in the news a lot lately? Worried it's gonna blow? Here are some things you should know.
- First, ignore the headlines claiming "the volcano will wipe the human race creating an apocalypse in less than ten years!"
You have nothing to fear - YVO is here.
Thanks to the efforts of a team of experts at the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory (YVO), who are monitoring the volcano 24/7, we would be aware of the warning signs associated with a volcanic eruption. The current status of the volcano is "normal" and "green". These are two indications that the volcano is in its typical, noneruptive state.
- Yellowstone isn't required to erupt ever again.
Yellowstone has experienced 23 smaller-scale eruptions after its last supereruption ~631,000 years ago (Christiansen, 2001; Matthews et al., 2015). If the volcano were to erupt again, it would be more probable that it would be one of these smaller-scale eruptions. (A "burp" in comparison to a supereruption).
- Our study is claiming nothing of the current or future state of the volcano.
Our study featured in the New York Times was investigating the magmatic events that lead to the last supereruption ~631,000 years ago. Although our results suggest these events occurred on timescales on the order of decades, this does not equate to the prediction of a future eruption. Further work is required to resolve such predictions.
- For a clear explanation dispelling myths about the volcano, read the Snopes.com article published following the New York Times piece.
Updated last April 2019