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Are animals fleeing Yellowstone due to quakes, possible Supervolcano eruption?

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YELLOWSTONE, Wyo. — In the days following a 4.8-magnitude earthquake in Yellowstone National Park, many bloggers and tourists have been expressing concerns about large droves of animals leaving the area.

Could this be evidence that the infamous Yellowstone Supervolcano is on the verge of eruption, ready to wipe out civilization in North American as we know it?

Park rangers and scientists say no.

Yes, Yellowstone Public Affairs Chief Al Nash said, the March 30 earthquake was the biggest Yellowstone has seen in 34 years. However, Nash said some people living less than a mile away from the quake’s epicenter, which was located in the Norris Geyser Basin, didn’t even feel the earth shake.

The 4.8 quake was part of a series of smaller quakes that have hit the greater Yellowstone region over the past few weeks. Many believe those quakes are linked to a recent 5.1-magnitude quake (and aftershocks) that hit in the Los Angeles region earlier in March.

This news didn’t seem all that alarming to Nash, who said the park experiences 1,000 to 3,000 earthquakes every year.

“It’s just part of the geological situation we find here in Yellowstone,” he said.

Nash also addressed the reports that a large number of animals — particularly bison and elk — have been seen leaving the park in recent weeks. He didn’t deny the reports, either. He confirmed them.

“We did have a large group of bison, elk and other animals that moved outside the park recently,” Nash said. “They do it every year around this time in an effort to move to lower elevations where they can find food that’s easier to access. When things start to green back up, those same animals will walk right back into the park.”

The nearby University of Utah Seismograph Station, considered an authority on seismic activity in Yellowstone, has also downplayed fears about any impending Supervolcano eruptions.

“There is no evidence to suggest a catastrophic eruption at Yellowstone National Park is imminent,” the station told the Epoch Times. “Current geologic activity at Yellowstone has remained relatively constant since earth scientists first started monitoring some 30 years ago. Though another caldera-forming eruption is theoretically possible, it is very unlikely to occur in the next thousand or even 10,000 years.”

Still, many rumors continue to spread about a possible Supervolcano eruption. And the fears aren’t completely unreasonable. After all, the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory has reported that an eruption 2 million years ago covered half of North America with ash and wiped out all prehistoric animals.

What’s more, another Supervolcano eruption would reportedly devastate the United States, dumping a 10-foot deep-layer of volcanic ash up to 1,000 miles away and rendering much of the nation uninhabitable for years to come.

Scientists believe the last full-on caldera eruption in Yellowstone was 640,000 years ago. Smaller eruptions have reportedly occurred in between and after the big blasts — most recently about 70,000 years ago.

Fears about an impending eruption seem to have been sparked by a YouTube video that shows a herd of bison sprinting along a roadway in Yellowstone. The video has been re-posted several times by different YouTube users, with many claiming the sprinting bison are fleeing the park.

However, a man who goes by “Yellowstone Leo” claims to have been the source of the original video, which was posted on March 14, 2014 — over two weeks days before the 4.8 earthquake. Leo also expressly notes in the clip’s description that the video shows a group of bison running deeper into the park.

That video can been seen in the media player above.

Yellowstone spokesperson Dan Hottle confirmed that the bison in Leo’s video are in fact running back into the park. He also went a step further.

“If I pointed a camera out my window for 15 minutes, I could probably get another shot of bison running down my cul de sac,” Hottle said. “Those bison (in the YouTube video) are running because that’s what they do every day in Yellowstone.”

11 comments

    • Will C. Holden

      Hi Jonathan. Thank you for reading and for taking the time to write. However, we must take issue with the validity of your assertion.

      For starters, we don’t take our cues from our competitors. We take them from our audience. And if you perform a search with “Yellowstone” and any of the following keywords — “animals,” “earthquakes” and/or “supervolcano” — you will get hundreds of hits. Some of those hits lead to stories from credible news organizations. Most of them are not.

      Regardless of how ill-informed the fears about any connection between animals leaving Yellowstone and an impending Supervolcano eruption may be, the fact is that the fears have indeed been trending at a significant rate this week. With that being the case, we made an effort to provide information that we felt was credible on a topic that was drawing a great deal of interest in our region, and then we created a headline that was search-engine-optimized — thus giving us the best chance to make an appearance in one of the millions of internet searches on this topic that have been performed this week.

      Hopefully this sheds light on the decision-making process that led to the creation of the headline on this story. While you may not appreciate our methods, we believe it is our role to make every effort possible to provide credible, thoughtfully placed information online about topics in which our audience has expressed interest. We feel we accomplished those aims with the headline and the story that followed it in this case.

      Speaking of ill-informed, any effort to link FOX31 Denver to FOX News would be factually incorrect. FOX31 Denver is a privately owned FOX affiliate, carrying the network’s prime-time entertainment programming. We are owned by Tribune Co., and not by FOX or its parent company, News Corporation.

      Thanks once more for reading and for taking the time to weigh in on this story, Jonathan. Please do not hesitate to bring us your questions, comments or concerns in the future. We will do our best to respond if/when we see fit.

      Best,
      Will Holden


      WILL C. HOLDEN
      Senior Editor, Digital Content
      KDVR.com / KWGN.com
      will.holden@kdvr.com
      303.566.7585

  • Janine Fraser

    What a non story with a totally deceptive headline. May as well write “Did man give birth to green skinned two headed triplets? No, he didn’t.” Same result.

    • Will C. Holden

      Hi Janine. Thank you for reading and for taking the time to write. However, we must take issue with the validity of your assertion.

      If you perform the following internet search: “Did man give birth to green-skinned two-headed triplets,” you will only get one hit — your comment on this story. However, if you perform a search with “Yellowstone” and any of the following keywords — “animals,” “earthquakes” and/or “supervolcano” — you will get hundreds of hits. Some of those hits lead to stories from credible news organizations. Most of them are not.

      Regardless of how ill-informed the fears about any connection between animals leaving Yellowstone and an impending Supervolcano eruption may be, the fact is that the fears have indeed been trending at a significant rate this week — much more significant than any fears about the potential birth of green-skinned, two-headed triplets. With that being the case, we made an effort to provide information that we felt was credible on a topic that was drawing a great deal of interest in our region, and then we created a headline that was search engine optimized — thus giving us the best chance make an appearance in one of the millions of internet searches on this topic that have been performed this week.

      Hopefully this sheds light on the decision-making process that led to the creation of the headline on this story. While you may not appreciate our methods, we believe it is our role to make every effort possible to provide credible, thoughtfully-placed information online about topics in which our audience has expressed interest. We feel we accomplished those aims with the headline and the story that followed it in this case.

      Thanks once more for reading and for taking the time to weigh in. Please do not hesitate to bring us your questions, comments or concerns in the future. We will do our best to respond if/when we see fit.

      Best,
      Will Holden


      WILL C. HOLDEN
      Senior Editor, Digital Content
      KDVR.com / KWGN.com
      will.holden@kdvr.com
      303.566.7585

  • Cathey Thomas

    Note that this rumor is mostly being carried on Fox and other right-leaning websites like WMD. A simple, totally routine, ANNUAL migration has survivalists stocking their bunkers, ready to hunker down for the expected End of Days. SO easily-misled!

    • Will C. Holden

      Hi Cathey. Thank you for reading and for taking the time to write. However, we must take issue with the validity of your assertion.

      For starters, we don’t take our cues from our competitors. We take them from our audience. And if you perform a search with “Yellowstone” and any of the following keywords — “animals,” “earthquakes” and/or “supervolcano” — you will get hundreds of hits. Some of those hits lead to stories from credible news organizations. Most of them are not.

      Regardless of how ill-informed the fears about any connection between animals leaving Yellowstone and an impending Supervolcano eruption may be, the fact is that the fears have indeed been trending at a significant rate this week. With that being the case, we made an effort to provide information that we felt was credible on a topic that was drawing a great deal of interest in our region, and then we created a headline that was search-engine-optimized — thus giving us the best chance to make an appearance in one of the millions of internet searches on this topic that have been performed this week.

      Hopefully this sheds light on the decision-making process that led to the creation of the headline on this story. While you may not appreciate our methods, we believe it is our role to make every effort possible to provide credible, thoughtfully placed information online about topics in which our audience has expressed interest. We feel we accomplished those aims with the headline and the story that followed it in this case.

      Speaking of ill-informed, any effort to link FOX31 Denver to the right-leaning news organization FOX News would be factually incorrect. FOX31 Denver is a privately owned FOX affiliate, carrying the network’s prime-time entertainment programming. We are owned by Tribune Co., and not by FOX or its parent company, News Corporation.

      Thanks once more for reading and for taking the time to weigh in on this story, Jonathan. Please do not hesitate to bring us your questions, comments or concerns in the future. We will do our best to respond if/when we see fit.

      Best,
      Will Holden


      WILL C. HOLDEN
      Senior Editor, Digital Content
      KDVR.com / KWGN.com
      will.holden@kdvr.com
      303.566.7585

  • Fast45

    They’re probably leaving because Yellowstone ranks at the top of tourist industry draws. ‘Used to be a nice place … kinda like Colorado, before all the Texans, Californians, and Mexicans moved here.

Comments are closed.