The Naval Postgraduate School & The U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Yellowstone Volcano: Alleviating Fear through Disaster Preparedness

Yellowstone Volcano: Alleviating Fear through Disaster Preparedness The Yellowstone National Park located in Wyoming is home to the Old Faithful Geyser, the Yellowstone River Basin, and the largest Volcano in North America. The Yellowstone Volcano has been dubbed a ‘super volcano’ by scientists because of its enormous explosive potential, over 1,000 times the strength of the Mt. St. Helens eruption, reaching as far as Los Angeles. Due to its size, and the difficulty of monitoring the magma activity (Yellowstone magma activity takes place at a much greater depth than smaller volcanoes) there are periodic outbreaks of panic revolving around the possibility of a catastrophic eruption. This panic is unnecessary as there are numerous safeguards and preparedness plans in effect to prevent loss of life, if an eruption were to take place. Although scientists agree that there is a degree of unpredictability for all volcanoes, the United States Geological Survey (USGS) issued a report outlining recent changes in the volcanoes activity as well as possible effects of an eruption. The volcano is monitored very closely by scientists working for the USGS and the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory, and they believe an imminent eruption could be predicted anywhere from several months to several weeks prior. The USGS issued a monitoring plan from 2006-2015, in order to ensure timely information during volcanic, or other seismic crises. Although the possibility of an eruption remains, the scientists monitoring Yellowstone’s activity, combined with a comprehensive evacuation plan for the immediate area, will allow for a full scale evacuation of the state of Wyoming and surrounding areas, should it become necessary. In the unlikely event that Yellowstone erupts in the near future, Wyoming will be ready.