KEY POINTS

  • Over a hundred earthquakes were recorded in Yellowstone in June
  • Seismic activity could lead to a volcanic eruption
  • A USGS scientist said the status of Yellowstone is still normal

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) revealed in a recent update that it had detected over a hundred earthquakes in Yellowstone. Despite the high number of seismic activity, a scientist from the agency noted that the status of the region is still pretty normal.

The Yellowstone National Park, which extends into Wyoming, Montana and Idaho, is home to the largest supervolcano in the continent. Dubbed as the Yellowstone Caldera, many experts believe that this supervolcano is already due for a powerful eruption.

Due to its massive size, a major eruption from the Yellowstone Caldera could be powerful enough to affect a large part of the U.S.

Recently, USGS’s Michael Poland, the scientist-in-charge of the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory, provided an update regarding the status of the region. Through the data collected by the University of Utah seismograph stations, which monitors the Yellowstone seismic network, Poland noted that the USGS had detected a total of 102 earthquakes in Yellowstone last month.

“The University of Utah seismograph stations, which were responsible for the operation and maintenance of the Yellowstone seismic network, located 102 earthquakes in the Yellowstone region during the month of June,” Poland stated.

According to the scientist, the most powerful earthquake occurred on June 5. He noted that a magnitude 2.8 earthquake occurred in the area. Then, from June 12 to June 15, the seismographs recorded a swarm of 17 earthquakes.

In most cases, earthquakes detected near or around volcanoes usually indicate signs of volcanic activity. The seismic movement could be caused by the movement of magma underneath the volcano, which could lead to an eruption.

However, in the case of Yellowstone, Poland noted that detecting over a hundred earthquakes in a month is not unusual. Since the number of earthquakes in the regions usually range from 1,500 to 2,500, the scientist said that Yellowstone’s June average is quite low.

“That's pretty normal for the region where we see typically about 1500 to 2500 earthquakes every year on average,” Poland stated. “So, in fact, we're sort of on the low side of average this month.” 

Yellowstone National Park Yellowstone National Park will start its phase one reopening on Monday (May 18) granting access to roads, trails, and boardwalks per National Park Services announcement. Photo: MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images