A new article discusses the dual threats of Yellowstone: volcanic activity and large earthquakes. Scientists have discovered that the Yellowstone quake was the second-largest in the lower 48 states during the 20th century. Erupting every 600,000 years, it is now 2.5 times larger than previously thought and poses a threat to aviation. While both these threats are scary enough, the dual nature of Yellowstone makes them doubly dangerous.
Yellowstone quake was second-largest in the lower 48 states in that century
The 1970 Yellowstone earthquake was the second-largest to strike the lower 48 states. It remains the largest historical earthquake in the Intermountain West, a region bounded by the Rocky Mountains in the east and the Cascade Range and Sierra Nevada in the west. While the 1960 quake caused some damage, a repeat of it is more likely today, given the increased number of tourists in the area during the summer.
A similar earthquake hit the area in June 1959. It was a magnitude 4.4 earthquake. This earthquake was felt by over 120 people in Yellowstone National Park. It was part of the Maple Creek Swarm, which spanned from June to September 2017.
It erupts every 600,000 years
The average Yellowstone eruption lasts about six days and produces lava flows. However, an eruption in Yellowstone is far less likely than a full-blown supervolcano. In fact, geologists have found evidence of 47 super-eruptions in Earth’s history. The most recent one occurred in Lake Taupo, New Zealand, about 26,000 years ago. The Toba eruption, which happened 74,000 years ago, triggered a global winter that lasts up to six years. It may have killed off the human race, although it was probably far from the last eruption. On average, Earth has experienced a single super-eruption every 100,000 years.
A major eruption will occur in Yellowstone, but not in our lifetimes. The next Yellowstone eruption is estimated to occur between one and two million years from now. A Yellowstone eruption will be fueled by complex interactions between tectonic plates and magma hot spots in the Earth’s mantle. As a result, there’s no way to know exactly when it will happen.
Its magma chambers are 2.5 times larger than a prior estimate
Scientists from the University of Utah recently reported that the magma chambers in Yellowstone are 2.5-times larger than previously thought. They measured seismic waves and determined the time between them to measure the volume of molten rock. The longer the delay, the more molten material passed through. The new discovery was presented at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco.
Scientists from the University of Utah conducted a seismic imaging study that revealed an underground volcanic plumbing system underneath Yellowstone supervolcano. They discovered that the magma reservoir is about four-and-a-half times larger than previously estimated. The new magma reservoir is so large that it would fill the Grand Canyon fourteen times over. This new finding may help explain why the Yellowstone supervolcano was active during prehistoric times, when its eruptions were among the largest on Earth in the last million years.
Its eruptions are a danger to aviation
The volcanic activity in Yellowstone has a long history. In the past, the supervolcano has erupted once, sending a deadly plume thousands of meters into the air and plunging a third of the continent into darkness. These eruptions can also create pyroclastic flows, fast-moving currents of hot rock that bury everything in their path. The magma from these eruptions also charred the once-pristine landscape for many miles.
Though Yellowstone is a supervolcano that is considered a potential threat to aviation, it has very little evidence of an upcoming super-eruption. While the Yellowstone eruption is the largest known in recent history, geologists have identified 47 super-eruptions in Earth’s history. One of the most recent super-eruption occurred 26,000 years ago in Lake Taupo, New Zealand. Another one occurred 74,000 years ago, when a shifting tectonic plate caused a global winter. It may have destroyed the human race. While this is an unsettling thought, geologists say that Yellowstone’s upcoming eruptions are still a threat to aviation.
It threatens Grizzly bears
It is difficult to determine the exact number of grizzly bears in the greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, but there are estimates of more than 1,000 grizzlies in the area. This number is still very low and is constantly changing, but the bears’ range has expanded to an area where there were once none. While it’s important to protect these animals, the threat of human-caused extinction is one of the biggest issues that they face.
Human activity is a major threat to grizzly bears. Hunting is a key factor in reducing grizzly populations. Humans are the primary source of prey for grizzlies, so any effort to decrease their number is important. Humans, on the other hand, are the most common cause of bear deaths. Unfortunately, the decline in human activity has made the Yellowstone grizzlies even more vulnerable to these threats.
It threatens coldwater trout
It is a common misconception that brown trout are harmful to the ecosystem. In fact, they are not. Brown trout, as well as a number of other species in the region, are not in any way affected by these introduced species. Brown trout are mainly a prey item for river otters and birds, but are also an important part of some ecosystems. A related species is the lake chub, a small fish in the family Leuciscidae. Although it rarely exceeds 6 inches in length, Lake chub are often introduced to the park by humans as baitfish. The latter species are often found in ponds and creeks in the park’s northeastern regions.
The current population of genetically pure yellowstone cutthroat trout is estimated to be less than ten percent of its historic range. However, it is still found in eighty-five percent of the subspecies’ lake habitat. This translates to fewer than 100,000 acres of habitat. However, most of this subspecies’ current habitat is on national forests. In addition, the Yellowstone cutthroat has no native predators, making it vulnerable to other threats.