Lisa Morgan, the geologist leading a US Geological Survey team studying a bulge beneath Yellowstone Lake says, “it could be the precursor to a hydrothermal explosion.” Hydrothermal explosions take place when water is superheated by lava and they can be extremely violent.

Geothermal activity and earth movements have been increasing in Yellowstone in recent months. In August, a magnitude 4.4 earthquake struck the area, and in July parts of a trail that passes the Norris Geyser Basin were shut because ground temperatures reached 200 degrees.

Although there has been a great deal of internet talk about an impending catastrophe, so far no signs of immediate danger have emerged. Yellowstone park is one of the most intensely monitored volcanic areas on earth. Ground temperatures in the park are monitored via a network of sensors. However, geologists have never observed a large hydrothermal explosion, and the effects of such an event are unknown.

640,000 years ago, the Yellowstone basin was born out of the explosion of a supervolcano that deposited ash as far away as Texas. There have been claims made that another such explosion is about to happen, but USGS scientists claim that there is no evidence for this whatsoever. But a geothermal explosion that would affect Yellowstone Park and the surrounding area appears to be a possibility.

If you live in the vicinity of Yellowstone, you may need some spirits to protect you.

For the Yellowstone Volcanic Observatory’s opinions regarding the current state of Yellowstone volcanic activity, click here.

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