The Wyoming-based national park is no stranger to seismic activity, but 133 earthquakes in just 28 days will only cause more concern. That equates to slightly less than five tremors a day on average. Monitoring records from the US Geological Survey shows that all of the earthquakes have been relatively small, with the largest being a 3.5 magnitude quake on August 15.
However, some geologists argue that when it comes to forecasting a volcano eruption, it is not the size of the seismic activity, but more the quantity.
Portland State University Geology Professor Emeritus Scott Burns has said a spate of small earthquakes around a volcano usually signifies that magma and gasses beneath the surface are beginning to navigate their exit.
He said: “If you get swarms under a working volcano, the working hypothesis is that magma is moving up underneath there.”
However, others disagree about whether an earthquake swarm near a volcano could be a sign of things to come.
Jamie Farrell at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, believes this is just part of the natural cycle for Yellowstone volcano, saying: “Earthquake swarms are fairly common in Yellowstone.
“There is no indication that this swarm is related to magma moving through the shallow crust.”
If the Wyoming volcano were to erupt an estimated 87,000 people would be killed immediately and two-thirds of the USA would immediately be made 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.
One recent video from popular YouTube channel Underworld details how the destruction would begin immediately, with the narrator saying: “Immediately after the eruption, all hell would break loose. Anything in the surrounding area would die almost immediately from the incomprehensible eruption.”
It goes on to say the ash cloud from the eruption would reach New York in a matter of “hours”.
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The narrator continues: “This ash would not only coat the entire country, but also block out the Sun’s light from reaching Earth.
“What does this mean for you? You can say goodbye to all the crops which are being grown outdoors – if the volcanic ash wasn’t enough to kill them, then the lack of sunlight surely would.
“The volcanic ash would be very toxic so even having fresh air to breathe would become a challenge.
“As the years pass and the ash settled, there would be no question that many of us would be dead.
“Even once the volcanic ash has gone, we would still be in a new ‘ice age’ since Earth’s temperatures would be substantially lower.
“There is no doubt that if an eruption were to occur, life as we know it would be changed forever.”