Yellowstone's Supervolcano Is Literally Changing Shape - But Why?

Don't panic. Or do, we can't really stop you. Suzi Pratt/Shutterstock

Unless the core of Yellowstone suddenly rises up to become a veritable hill, and unless parts of the National Park start exploding and melting, there is really nothing to worry about. As the USGS are keen to point out, activity at the famous volcano is still in the normal range.

At the same time, the earthquake swarm that’s still taking place at Yellowstone – now numbering in the 1500 range – is also not worth losing sleep over.

Although the frequency of the quakes is slightly above expected background levels, swarms like this are typically triggered by the same movement of high-pressure subterranean fluids beneath the surface. It’s just the Earth flexing its muscles.

If you’re still worried about all this, then why not take a look at Campi Flegrei, the Italian supervolcano which is, arguably, the most dangerous supervolcano in the world today. Between 1982 and 1984, the ground there rose by 1.8 meters (5.9 feet) – something which frightened volcanologists at the time – and yet nothing happened.

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The most dangerous thing about Yellowstone is, and will be for some time, human error. Somehow, despite clear warnings not to go too close to them, people keep falling into the park’s hot springs – and these spontaneous acidic baths result in their complete dissolution within a single day.

Forget supereruptions. It’s human silliness you should be worried about.

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