There has been some hype in tabloid media (and on doomsday prepper Facebook accounts) in the past couple of weeks about the increase of small earthquakes in the Yellowstone National Park caldera area, interspersed with quiet periods. Some sources say this could be a warning of a catastrophic eruption which could make two-thirds of the United States uninhabitable. Other possible indications could be changes in water levels in various ponds and hot springs.
There are reports that that DHS has talked to at least four countries (one of them is apparently South Africa) on other continents about taking American “refugees”. I could say, fat chance, given Trump’s attempts at travel bans! There are predictions of at least a 10% probability of a major eruption by 2100.
The Pacific Northwest seems to have a massive eruption about every 650,000 years and we are near that time. Each eruption occurs farther East than the previous one. And scientists have found that the magma chambers under Yellowstone were even deeper and larger than previously thought.
But if you check more mainstream media, the sources indicate that earthquake swarms are common and not necessarily a sign of a major eruption. And more stable (and sometimes conservative) sites tend to suggest that the damage possible from a Yellowstone eruption is much smaller than the tabloids or Hollywood disaster movies predict.
Indeed, there would be massive destruction for at least 100 miles or so in every direction from the Caldera, more than was found with Mount St. Helens in 1980.
And there could be considerable ashfall over the upper Midwest, compromising farmland and gumming up streams and rivers. Furthermore, the volcanic could would block sunlight and cool the Earth for several years, maybe substantially, reversing global warming temporarily and leading to shorter growing seasons.
I can recall that this risk came up on an Outwoods hike near Minneapolis back in the fall of 1998 when a University of Minnesota chemistry professor on the hike mentioned it, as a real hazard to civilization.
I visited Yellowstone myself in May 1981 (also nearby Teton), and the Mt. St. Helens site in Washington State in July 1990. I also flew over the St. Helens peak on a flight from Seattle to San Francisco in August 1980.
There have also been reports that Mount Rainier in Washington State could have a massive eruption.
(Posted: Friday, June 23, 2017 at 1:30 PM EDT)