Amid a bevy of headlines blaring that a 100-foot fissure at Grand Teton National Park is related to the Yellowstone Supervolcano, a spokesperson for the National Park Service said they’re “completely unrelated.”
“The crack in the rock and associated closure are completely unrelated to the Yellowstone Volcano,” Andrew White, a spokesman for the National Park Service, told The Epoch Times on Wednesday.
Articles from The Express, “Yellowstone Volcano latest: 100-FOOT fissure sparks URGENT park closure,” the Daily Mail, with the headline “Rock fissure sparks URGENT closure at Grand Teton National Park, just 60 miles from Yellowstone supervolcano,” and even Fox News with its headline of “Part of Grand Teton National Park near Yellowstone supervolcano closed after massive fissure opens” were published this week. The Express article was prominently featured on Drudge Report on Wednesday.
On July 10, the NPS announced the closure of Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point areas near Jenny Lake “for human safety.”
In a statement by the NPS emailed to the Epoch Times, park officials explained that rockfall in the Teton Range is a “common occurrence … and is a part of the naturally dynamic environment of mountains.” The rock, which is about 100 feet in length could come loose, prompting the closure of Hidden Falls.
“Over long periods of time, water flowing through minute fractures decomposes rock in a process called weathering. Once a rock has been weathered, triggers such as freeze-thaw cycles, flowing water, temperature variations, vegetation growth, and other factors can cause cracks in rock to grow rapidly and possibly break free and fall,” according to the statement.
Park staff are continuing to monitor the fissure in the rock buttress. It’s not clear how long Hidden Falls will be closed.
They’ve also installed time-lapse cameras to view the growth in the fissure.
“Scientists are also working with park rangers to manually measure the width of the crack at multiple locations at least once each day,” according to the statement.
The fissure, officials said, has not significantly changed since July 10.
What’s more, officials added, “it is believed that the crack may have begun to expand last fall, and it is uncertain whether additional expansion occurred recently, as initially thought, or over the winter and spring when freeze-thaw cycles may have contributed.”