Yellowstone officials, who fielded dozens of calls and emails
since the video went viral this week following an earthquake in the
park, said the video actually shows bison galloping down a paved
road that leads deeper into the park. (To see the video, click on
"It was a spring-like day and they were frisky. Contrary to online
reports, it's a natural occurrence and not the end of the world,"
park spokeswoman Amy Bartlett said.
Assurances by Yellowstone officials and government geologists that
the ancient super-volcano beneath the park is not due to explode for
eons have apparently done little to quell fears among the thousands
who have viewed recent video postings of the thundering herd.
Commentary with one of the clips by a self-described survivalist
wearing camouflage, dark sunglasses and a black watch cap suggests
the wildlife exodus may be tied to "an imminent eruption here at
The 4.8 magnitude earthquake that struck early Sunday near the
Norris Geyser Basin in the northwest section of Yellowstone, which
spans 3,472 square miles of Wyoming, Montana and Idaho, caused no
injuries or damages and did not make any noticeable alterations to
the landscape, geologists said.
Though benign by seismic standards, it was the largest to rattle
Yellowstone since a 4.8 quake in February 1980 and it occurred near
an area of ground uplift tied to the upward movement of molten rock
in the super-volcano, whose mouth, or caldera, is 50 miles long and
30 miles wide.
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But neither the quake, the largest among hundreds that have struck
near the geyser basin in the last seven months, nor the uplift
suggest an eruption sooner than tens of thousands of years, said
Peter Cervelli, associate director for science and technology at the
U.S. Geological Survey's Volcano Science Center in California.
"The chance of that happening in our lifetimes is exceedingly
insignificant," said Cervelli, a scientist with the Yellowstone
Cervelli said the area of uplift that scientists have been tracking
since August is rising at a rate of between 10 centimeters (4
inches) and 15 centimeters a year. Geologists who tracked uplift in
the same area from 1996 to 2003 also saw elevated seismic activity,
(Editing by Dan Whitcomb and Steve Orlofsky)
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