Scientists busy squashing silly rumors instead of sciencing at Yellowstone

Volcanologists at the Yellowstone volcano observatory have been spending a lot of time putting out fires, internet rumor fires, that is, as people are afraid of a supervolcanic eruptions.

Earlier this year, we told you about the unsubstantiated rumor that animals were “fleeing” the area and the speculation that something was going to happen. It didn’t. We told you so. But the American general public is genuinely concerned that the caldera at Yellowstone (a large volcanic complex) is becoming more active. The busy professional observers say, “Don’t worry too much.”

Busy year for Yellowstone supervolcano rumors.

There is currently no sign of any abnormal seismic activity in the park, despite a rash of rumors and outright fabrications that have swept across the Internet during the first half of 2014.

“It has been a busy year for this stuff,” said Jacob B. Lowenstern, the scientist in charge of the U.S. Geological Survey’s Yellowstone Volcano Observatory.

Lowenstern spoke earlier this month about the ongoing challenge of refuting bogus claims related to the vast geothermal system that lies beneath Yellowstone.

So after a rash of inquiries earlier this month, the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory posted a statement on Aug. 8 addressing the fake evacuation story and other rumors.Sure, but if an eruption loomed, would scientists know? And more importantly, would they tell the public?

“Absolutely,” Lowenstern said.

Part of the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory’s mission is to better assess the risks of an eruption or other activity and keep decision-makers and the public informed.

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The USGS makes their data available in basically real-time. It’s not hidden. However, what seismic data mean is open to interpretation. Best leave that to the experts instead of those who speculate just to get attention on their web sites or YouTube channel.

The Yellowstone magma chamber is huge and filling but that does not mean imminent catastrophe. Let the watchers watch. Mad speculation and fear mongering is NO help.


AL the Anomallama gets ALARMED at the word “supervolcano”

  2 comments for “Scientists busy squashing silly rumors instead of sciencing at Yellowstone

  1. Bill T.
    August 27, 2014 at 6:59 PM

    So you’re telling me it’s not the job of government geologists to learn as much as they can about natural systems and then do all they can to keep it from me?

  2. Geoff
    August 28, 2014 at 1:51 PM

    Was out in Glacier hiking last week and thinking how if the volcano blew, I would be dead before I even heard it.

    Then I saw some bighorn and got distracted.

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