In the month of May, there were a total of 288 earthquakes registered in the Yellowstone area, but it’s not a cause for concern, say scientists. More hype surrounded the possibility that the dormant supervolcano beneath Yellowstone was going to erupt, but that’s not the case. Yellowstone is actually one of the most seismically active areas of the United States, and these numbers are not uncommon.
Why So Many?
The main reason why there are so many earthquakes around Yellowstone is due to the network of tunnels and faults that surround the volcano. It’s where the famous geysers come from, and most of the earthquakes are not even felt by people. The diverse hydrothermal environment which supports hot springs, geysers, mud pots, and fumaroles create a hotbed of seismic activity.
Keeping The Pipes Clear
All of the seismic activity is actually a good thing for Yellowstone’s volcano. These little mini eruptions help to keep the network of tunnels free and clear. It’s better to have a series of mini eruptions than to wait for that pressure to build up into one big destructive one.
The earthquakes are related to the volcanic liquid that is transported around Yellowstone National Park. Several of the hot springs will actually begin to drain before a small eruption, giving experts a heads up that something is about to happen.
While an earthquake storm of over 300 might seem like a lot, there have been many more recorded in a year near Yellowstone. The record came in 1985 when there were over 3,000 earthquakes recorded during 12 months.