Ever since videos of animals supposedly fleeing Yellowstone National Park went viral, some people have been speculating that the supervolcano under the park may be set off soon by an earthquake.
The speculation was fueled by the rare strong earthquake on March 30, which measured 4.8 magnitude.
One video shows buffalo running down a road, which some bloggers say leads out of the park.
Another video surfaced later, showing elk hopping a fence and running, which many of the same bloggers are saying adds credence to the theory.
Officials and scientists have hastened to address the rumors and speculation, with the park releasing its own video saying that there are “no signs to suggest that the Yellowstone National Park is about to erupt.”
Addressing the videos directly, the park said: “Animals are migrating in search of food as they do every winter/spring.”
As for the theory that the earthquake was strong enough to set off an eruption, “It’s a pretty high bar to start a volcanic eruption at Yellowstone,” Jake Lowenstern, the scientist in charge of Yellowstone Volcano Observatory, told Live Science.
“To get magma out of the ground you’re going to have to have a lot of earthquakes and a lot of ground deformation — a lot more than we’re seeing now and much more intense,” Lowenstern told Live Science. “There hasn’t been an eruption at Yellowstone in 70,000 years and 500 to 1,000 earthquakes of this size that have happened over that time.”
Even the deadly 7.3 quake in 1959 didn’t cause an eruption.
All the same, these denials of any changes are taken by some of the bloggers as further proof that something is actually going on.
“A massive herd of elk, sprinting and jumping the gate away from Yellowstone. This is huge,” said one blogger on 2127news.net.
“Oh they’re going to their summer locations, we’re told. But wouldn’t they stay within the gate. They’re restricted to that gate, but still the herds run away. This is another huge sign of mass animal movements. Look at the size of the herd.”