Why Are Animals Fleeing Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park

A YouTube clip of animals fleeing Yellowstone National Park has gone viral leaving and many people wondering why. Are the animals and are onto something humans are not? The truth is there is no simple answer to this question.

The earthquake was recorded at Yellowstone National Park on Sunday, March 30, registering at a magnitude of 4.8. There was no reported damage and park officials claim there is no need for alarm yet park official have been accused of not reporting smaller earthquakes near the volcano.

Yellowstone National Park is often depicted in the media as an area in which the famous geyser Old Faithful is located. A lesser known fact about Yellowstone is that it also houses the largest super volcano in North America. While United States Geological Survey website says there is currently no volcano threat, the earthquake that took place last Sunday was the largest recorded quake for that area in 34 years. The west coast in particular has been experiencing an increase in seismic activity. Some people believe the recent increase in seismic activity is due to the super volcano underneath the Yellowstone geyser aggravating faults below earth’s surface.

In 2013, the sleeping volcano was found to be 2.5 time larger than originally thought. If this volcano ever erupted, it would be a disaster for the United States. Washington, Oregon, Nevada, Montana Idaho, Wyoming, Utah, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, and a part of Northern California would be devastated by the blast. From ground zero, there would be total destruction in every direction for 100 miles and massive destruction in every direction for 500 miles. There would also be a mega ash cloud that would affect the entire earth.

No one can say for sure why animals are fleeing Yellowstone and panicked citizens can do nothing but speculate. Is it because of the quakes, or because they sense that the sleeping giant is about to awake? According to Dr. Michio Kaku, detecting the mega eruption is impossible and here is no early detection system in place at this time. Also according to the physicist, the volcano erupts every 600,000 years and so far it has been 640,000 years since the last eruption.

Currently, the United States Geological Survey (USGS) has a volcano monitoring program in place to keep watch over the volcano, and while there is no advance warning system available there are systems in place to monitor any activity happening within the volcano in at all times.

Yellowstone officials say that the animal migrations are characteristic of typical migrations this time of year and that most of the recent videos of the animal leaving the area popping up all over the internet were filmed weeks before Sunday’s earthquake.

The University of Utah has a department devoted to seismic activity, and are also trying to calm fears about the super volcano. University correspondents say the activity in Yellowstone National Park has stayed around the same level for 30 years. Regardless of why animals have been recorded fleeing different areas in Yellowstone, it would seem that based on the evidence there are no sure signs of destruction.

Editorial by Sarah Wright

Yellowstone Volcano Observatory