Throwing cold water on volcanic fear-mongering

Rarely does a month pass without some obscure Internet site promoting false rumors that the Yellowstone supervolcano is about to blow. For example, such scare-mongering sites have pointed to earthquake swarms as evidence of imminent disaster—even though quake swarms are common at Yellowstone. Geophysicist Bob Smith, a research and emeritus professor and a leading expert on Yellowstone, pegs the annual odds of a Yellowstone supervolcano eruption at 1-in-700,000. He’s glad to answer media questions about the slumbering supervolcano and lesser eruptions in Yellowstone’s history, especially to throw cold water on hype about the likelihood of a cataclysmic eruption. Smith has studied Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks and their seismic and volcanic hazards for almost six decades. He keeps getting awards for his research, most recently the 2015 Paul G. Silver Award for Outstanding Scientific Service from the American Geophysical Union—the world’s largest Earth science organization.
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