The United States Geological Survey has increased the Yellowstone supervolcano threat to “high.” This is the first time that the USGS has updated its volcano threat assessments list since 2006.
The USGS said that 11 of the 18 volcanoes they have classified as a “high threat” or a “very high threat” are located in Washington, Oregon, or California, “where explosive and often snow- and ice-covered edifices can project hazards long distances to densely populated and highly developed areas.”
According to the Epoch Times, the danger list is topped by Kilauea in Hawaii, which has been erupting continuously in 2018. Mount St. Helens as well as Mount Rainier in Washington, Alaska’s Redoubt Volcano, and California’s Mount Shasta are also in the top five, according to what the USGS has said.
Although the Yellowstone supervolcano is a “high” threat, it’s only the 21st most dangerous volcano in the United States. According to Forbes, the assessment that Yellowstone supervolcano was only high was not assigned on a whim. While the Yellowstone supervolcano does have the potential for a large eruption, other factors are at play. Such as the fact that it erupts so infrequently, shows no signs of increasing eruption risk today, and is located in a relatively sparsely populated area of the United States which decreases the threat. To be clear, the USGS still ranked the supervolcano as a “high” threat, but it is clearly not the most dangerous volcano in the United States.
Despite the recent gradual uptick in thermal activity in the caldera directly below the supervolcano, the new USGS threat assessment is showing Yellowstone as stable, but dangerous when it does happen to erupt in the future, according to a report by the Missoulan.
The Yellowstone supervolcano is one of the most feared volcanoes on the globe, however, scientists are constantly reminding everyone that the chance of it erupting in a violent and globally devastating fashion is rather small, even though it is said to be “past due” for such an explosion.