Is the Yellowstone supervolcano about to erupt? Videos circulating on the Internet supposedly show animals moving away from the park in large numbers. Many people have become alarmed, worried that the movement of the animals is a sign the massive volcano is on the verge of eruption.
Bison were seen running down a road in Yellowstone, in one of the most highly watched films said to show animals moving away from a coming natural disaster. Leo Leckie shot the video on March 14, two weeks before the tremors struck the park.
Earthquakes have also been noted in the park over the last few weeks, fueling suspicion the park is on the verge of erupting. Tremors and quakes are often precursors to volcanic activity. Helium has also been escaping from the park at a rate of around 60 tons a year.
Media outlets across the country found the video online, and started to run stories about bison running away from the park after the quakes. A Fox News station in Cleveland ran a story claiming "[T]he stampede coincided with a 4.8 magnitude earthquake that hit the park last weekend."
Magma located just beneath much of the park heats water, and creates the magnificent geysers and unique geology for which the park is known. The liquid rock just beneath the surface produces thousands of minor earthquakes each year in the park. Geologists say there are no signs the park is about to erupt anytime soon.
"Current geologic activity at Yellowstone has remained relatively constant since earth scientists first started monitoring some 30 years ago. Though another caldera-forming eruption is theoretically possible, it is very unlikely to occur in the next thousand or even 10,000 years," The National Park Service reports on the official Yellowstone Web site.
Bison regularly migrate outside the park at around this time every year, in pursuit of food. When the weather becomes warmer, the animals move back into Yellowstone.
"[A]ny animal migrations are typical for this time of year. Most of the recent videos on the Internet that show running bison were filmed weeks (at least) before [the] earthquake," the U.S. Geological Survey wrote in response to the videos.
Yellowstone was the first national park, and covers large areas of Idaho, Montana and Wyoming. The landmark was established in 1872, most of it located in the Wyoming, the Equality State.
Beneath the natural wonders of the park lies a supervolcano called the Yellowstone caldera. This massive volcano last erupted 640,000 years ago. If it erupted today, it could devastate large areas of the United States, and lead to rapid cooling around the Northern Hemisphere.