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Weird lights at Yellowstone supervolcano: Eruption precursor? Earthquake swarm swells to 1,100+

Shortly after the lightning strike at Yellowstone, the camera went down. 'An earthquake light is an unusual luminous aerial phenomenon that reportedly appears in the sky at or near areas of tectonic stress, seismic activity, or volcanic eruptions.' according to Wikipedia. Could this be a precursor for a massive earthquake or eruption of the Yellowstone supervolcano? 


In the last two weeks, scientists have measured over 1,000 earthquakes causing tremors in Yellowstone.

This brings the total up to 1,100 since June 12th. While this activity is higher than normal, it is not the highest concentration of swarms scientists have witnessed.

In 1985, more than 3,000 earthquakes were recorded in just a few short months. Swarms of earthquakes are common, and despite Yellowstone being a volcanic site, these swarms don't make the volcano anymore likely to erupt. Magma movement is one possible cause, while another is an earthquake along a fault like. There is great pressure beneath Yellowstone. Hence it's geysers, which can also cause small tremors. 

If magma were to begin rising to the surface, one could expect larger earthquakes with potentially more devastating consequences. The cluster of earthquakes that rattled Yellowstone in recent weeks were in higher numbers than researchers are used to seeing, but nothing new. It is not the highest number of swarms the park has ever seen, however. 

In the years 2002, 2004, 2008 and 2010, Yellowstone was hit with larger numbers yet. In the last 2.1 million years, there have only been three major eruptions at Yellowstone, with some minor ones along the way, too. So while the odds of the volcano erupting are not high, it is and will continue to be a possibility. 

A 4.4 hit the park a few weeks ago, making in the largest since 2014. However, this is not the highest magnitude earthquake Yellowstone has seen. In recent history, the most memorable earthquake in Yellowstone occurred in the 50's. In 1959, an earthquake with a 7.5 magnitude rocked through the park, near Hebgen Lake. 

This information may seem frightening as Yellowstone is a super volcano, but scientists have reassured us that there is nothing to worry about when it comes to swarms. The odds of the volcano erupting are about 1 in 700,000, so you can rest easy.


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