The next eruption at Yellowstone will not happen any time soon. Volcanoes do not behave predictably, nor do their outbreaks occur on a schedule that can be accurately predicted. Despite this, it is impossible for the volcano to be “overdue” for an eruption based on the calculations.
Yellowstone has been the site of three significant eruptions in its history: the first one occurred 2.08 million years ago, the second 1.3 million years ago, and the third 0.631 million years ago. This equates to a period of around 725,000 years between volcanic eruptions on average.
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If this is the case, then there is still roughly 100,000 years more to go, but this estimate is worthless because it is based on the average of merely two time periods between the eruptions.
Most volcanic systems that experience a supereruption do not share it again and again. When supereruptions do occur more than once in a volcanic system, the intervals of time between each of these eruptions are not uniform.
The scientific community is not sure that Yellowstone will ever have another catastrophic eruption, although this event is not ruled out. Because just 5–15 percent of the rhyolite magma chamber under Yellowstone is molten (the remainder of the chamber is hardened but remains hot), it is unknown whether there is even enough magma beneath the caldera to feed an eruption.
Even if Yellowstone does go off again, it won’t necessarily be a big one this time. The most recent volcanic eruption in Yellowstone took the form of a lava flow and took place 70,000 years ago.
When Will The Next Large Earthquake Occur In Yellowstone?
Seismographs (instruments that measure earthquake locations and magnitudes) and GPS – Global Positioning Systems (instruments that measure slow ground movements) are being used to conduct modern surveillance for earthquakes in Yellowstone.
This surveillance is helping scientists understand the state of stress in the Earth’s crust. While earthquakes cannot yet be predicted, they can be monitored more accurately. These forces have the potential to initiate magma flow as well as earthquakes.
This time-lapse footage was captured during the 4/27 eruption of Steamboat Geyser. Steamboat typically erupts erratically with inactivity periods that can last months or years. This spring there were 3 eruptions in 6 weeks. When will it erupt next? pic.twitter.com/wCOa5B8prR
— Yellowstone National Park (@YellowstoneNPS) May 4, 2018
Yellowstone National Park is located in an area of the western United States known for its high level of geologic activity. Large earthquakes have taken place there in the past, such as the M7.3 Hebgen Lake earthquake just west of Yellowstone National Park, and they will continue to take place there in the future; however, it is hard to predict when they will take place.
The Yellowstone Volcano Observatory, a partnership between the University of Utah and other institutions, employs seismograph stations to closely monitor earthquakes in the wider Yellowstone area and collaborates with these institutions to maintain an eye on the entire volcanic system.
Why Are There So Many Earthquakes At Yellowstone?
Nearly every earthquake that occurs in Yellowstone is the result of brittle failure, which occurs when rocks fracture as a result of the forces exerted by the crust. Even though we have been studying Yellowstone for a number of years, no one has yet discovered any “long-period events” (LP events), which are often associated with magma migration.
It is NOT the case that the observation of LP occurrences indicates that Yellowstone is getting ready to erupt. LP earthquakes are not uncommon at other volcanoes across the world, including volcanoes in California, which have not erupted for hundreds of years or even millennia. When water boils in a geyser, a specific type of ground shaking known as “tremor” can be experienced in Yellowstone’s geothermal zones.
In 1959, a magnitude 7.3 earthquake occurred at Hebgen Lake, located north of Yellowstone, making it the most powerful earthquake ever recorded in the Rocky Mountains. The expansion, also known as stretching, of the Earth’s crust, was the root source of the problem. The earthquake was responsible for the movement of a fault 40 kilometers long (25 miles) and climbed vertically up to 12 meters (40 feet).
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The behavior of Yellowstone National Park’s hydrothermal system is susceptible to alter if the park is shaken by earthquakes. After the earthquake in 1959, the amount of time that passed between outbursts of Old Faithful Geyser rose dramatically.
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