An underwater volcano off the coast of Washington State may be blowing its top. At the same time, a massive new magma pool has been discovered under Yellowstone. In accordance with the predictions of two geologists (Bill Chadwick, of Oregon State University and Scott Nooner of the University of North Carolina Wilmington) the Axial Seamount – the most active submarine volcano in the of the northwest coast, has become active. Thousands of microquakes have been recorded in the area over the past week. These quakes, like the ones being recorded at Yellowstone, are probably a result of magma movement, although there is no evidence of any immediate threat at Yellowstone.
A rumor that the Yellowstone supervolcano is about to erupt has been racing around the internet, but park officials say that there is not the slightest sign that this is going to happen, and, as can be seen in the Old Faithful live webcam, no evacuation is under way. The rumor started when a side road melted due to thermal activity. However, significant magma movement would precede an eruption, and a check of seismometers reveals that there is no earthquake activity in the area that suggests that this is happening. Because of the nature of the park’s geology, there are frequent small earthquakes in the area, but nothing like the swarm that would suggest magma movement under the surface.
A recent study, published in the journal Nature Geoscience, indicated that the risk of a "Supervolcano" eruption could be between 10 to 100 times more likely than previously thought.
Scientists originally assumed that seismic activity was necessary to crack open the earth’s crust and trigger a supervolcano eruption, but evidence now suggests that it is the build up of pressure from contained magma that ultimately causes it to break through and escape onto the surface in a cataclysmic explosion.
Unknowncountry has been monitoring the increased earthquake activity at Yellowstone Park in Wyoming, and considering the potential effects of a Super-volcano eruption. The National Park is perched on top of a simmering Super-volcano which has been responsible for some of the largest and most cataclysmic volcanic eruptions in known history.
Last week’s ‘Weekender’ feature documented an increase in earthquake swarms around the Yellowstone area – over 130 in September alone – and a 3 inch swell in the volcano’s caldera every year for the past three years suggesting that the magma underneath is rising. The cause of the tremors has not yet been determined, but could be influenced by planetary alignments according to some experts and peer-reviewed studies.