I know I’ve complained about this before. And I know it can’t possibly be getting on my nerves as badly as it might get on the nerves of the scientists at the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory. But still, is it me, or does Time magazine’s short article come across as just a little disappointed that we’re not all in danger of imminent fiery death? I think the question mark at the end of the article’s title (“Nothing to Fear?”) is what does it.
Yellowstone is in a very tectonically active region, whether or not there’s a giant magma monster lurking below the surface, ready to leap out and kill us all. From the YVO:
Although some quakes are caused by rising magma and hot-ground-water movement, many emanate from regional faults related to crustal stretching and mountain building. For example, major faults along the Teton, Madison, and Gallatin Ranges pass through the park and likely existed long before the beginning of volcanism there. Movements along many of these faults are capable of producing significant earthquakes.
It’s not a surprise to see things still shifting and re-shifting in the area. Admittedly, the whole thing could blow out in a massive steam explosion tomorrow and make life extremely unpleasant for anyone in the immediate area, but it is also important to note that tectonic activity in Yellowstone doesn’t necessarily mean that something’s going on in the magma chambers or even the hydrothermal system.
And while I’m spending my afternoon complaining about things, I’d just like to say: A balloon boy documentary? Please, no.