US Supervolcano’s Earthquake Swarms Are A ‘Good Thing,’ Scientists Say


Kay Smythe News and Commentary Writer
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A supervolcano in California has a massive lid that causes earthquake swarms, and apparently that’s a good thing, scientists revealed in mid-October.

The Long Valley Caldera in eastern California has been releasing swarms of earthquakes since at least 1978, which previously raised concerns of a potential eruption, according to a study published in Science Advances. But new data suggests these earthquake swarms are actually a good thing and might mean the supervolcano is cooling down.

Most people in Los Angeles have no idea that this massive geological phenomenon is right at their doorstep, close to Mammoth Mountain and other popular tourist and local hotspots. The caldera is thought to have been created 767,000 years ago, with an explosion so massive it spewed 156 cubic miles of debris throughout the region. That’s enough to cover Los Angeles in more than half a mile of ash, according to LiveScience.

In the simplest terms, scientists have now found the main caldera lies beneath a secondary chamber made up of cooler, crystallized magma-turned-rock. The image evoked from the research is one of a giant rock plug atop a bubbling caldron of death. As gases escape this upper crust, it causes seismic activity. (RELATED: Scientists Reveal Ancient Cataclysm That Plunged The World Into Darkness 1,500 Years Ago)

Many volcanologists correlate consistent earthquake swarms, sometimes known as harmonic tremors depending on their frequency and duration, with an impending eruption. As this appears to not be the case for California, we can all breathe a sigh of relief that we don’t have to deal with a potentially cataclysmic super-eruption in the next few months.