The Yellowstone super volcano has been hit by 464 earthquakes since June 12, according to the United States Geological Service’s (USGS) Yellowstone Volcano Observatory.
Some of the quakes were relatively high on the Richter scale. One, on June 15, was 4.5.
“The epicenter of the shock was located in Yellowstone National Park, eight miles north-northeast of the town of West Yellowstone, Montana,” a USGS statement said.
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“[The 4.5] earthquake is part of an energetic sequence of earthquakes in the same area that began on June 12,” the statement continued. “This sequence has included approximately thirty earthquakes of magnitude 2 and larger and four earthquakes of magnitude 3 and larger.”
Seismic activity, such as earthquakes, can be a sign of an impending eruption.
The Yellowstone super volcano is actually a vast pool of partially molten rock or magma underneath the national park. Estimates are that it is 14,000 cubic miles in size, or 14 times the size of the Grand Canyon.
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Scientists say that if it erupted, it would cover most of the continental United States and much of Canada and Mexico with ash; some places would be a meter deep. An eruption would be larger than the most powerful volcanic eruption in recorded history — that of Mount Tambora in Indonesia in 1815. It darkened skies throughout the world and ruined harvests as far as Europe. Many places in the Northeast experienced snow.
One fear of the super volcano is that it would cause a nationwide or worldwide famine by blacking out the sun and covering fields with ash.
The good news: Yellowstone also experienced similar earthquake swarms in 2002, 2004, 2008 and 2010. Scientists say the likelihood that the volcano will erupt this time is low.
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