The U.S. government agency in charge of monitoring potential volcano activity at the Yellowstone National Park caldera has issued a statement slamming any recent rumors about an impending eruption and evacuation.
Starting with a video earlier this year of bison seemingly running out of the park, which some people took as “an alert,” and continuing with things like a melting road in the park, some blogs and websites have claimed that an eruption could happen soon.
There was also a recent article on a hoax website that said an eruption would definitely happen within weeks and that an evacuation was already underway.
The U.S. Geological Survey seems to have had enough of these kinds of articles, releasing “a short statement regarding recent rumors.”
“Though we love doing research at YVO [Yellowstone Volcano Observatory], we prefer it when the research is on topics geological rather than the origin of false rumors. Nevertheless, we have received enough concerned emails and phone calls that we’ve spent some time tracking down a few of the statements made on various ‘alternative Internet news sources,'” it said.
“1) First, everyone should know that geological activity, including earthquakes and ground uplift/subsidence is well within historical norms and seismicity is actually a bit low at present.
“2) Concern over road closures is much overblown. There’s been one road closure of a small side road – just over three miles long – that was closed for two days. As one can imagine, it is not easy to maintain roads that pass over thermal areas where ground temperatures can approach those of boiling water. Roads at Yellowstone often need repair because of damage by thermal features as well as extreme cold winter conditions.
“3) The park has not been evacuated. This one is pretty easy to verify by everyone. If the Old Faithful webcam shows people, or if news articles are coming out about a hobbyist’s remote control helicopter crashing into a hot spring, Yellowstone is certainly open for business.
“4) No volcanologists have stated that Yellowstone is likely to erupt this week, this month or this year. In one recent article, a name was attributed to a ‘senior volcanologist,’ but that person does not appear to exist, and a geologist with that name assures us that he did not supply any quotes regarding Yellowstone.
“5) Finally, we note that those who’ve kept track of Yellowstone over the past decade or so, have seen a constant stream of ‘predictions’ regarding imminent eruptions at Yellowstone. Many have had specific dates in mind, none had a scientific basis, and none have come true.
“We will continue to provide updates on geological activity at Yellowstone, and educational materials to help understand the science around Yellowstone monitoring.”