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For the last two weeks, an area in Yellowstone just beyond Old Faithful has experienced hundreds of tiny earthquakes (called a “swarm”) a day. That sounds scary: Should you panic and flee, just in case the Rocky Mountain west becomes a scene out of 2012?
Not exactly: While seismologists and park scientists are deadly curious about what the seismic activity means for Yellowstone’s unique geology, they don’t foresee any mass-scale eruptions on par with what the Discovery Channel’s been scaring us with for years.
This series of mini-quakes is the second-most ever recorded at the park (we reported on that back in the day).
“We’re not seeing a pattern that is really discernible yet,” said Henry Heasler, a coordinating scientist for the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory, a joint venture of Yellowstone, the United States Geological Survey and the University of Utah. Dr. Heasler said plans were in place to intensify observations in case the swarm continued for a long time or got larger. “We’re ready to ramp up,” he said, including using flights to monitor the area.
Oh, goody. If you see the ground start to implode, try and radio me before the lava cascade hits your chopper. That way I can at least run around, yell, and wave my hands wildly in the air for a few minutes before Colorado becomes a molten sinkhole.
Image Credit: Alaskan Dude