After two strong earthquakes hit in California last week, there was a spike in internet searches for Yellowstone caldera and Yellowstone volcano. The quakes—a magnitude 6.4 and 7.1 on July 4 and 5 respectively—had apparently raised fears an eruption at the supervolcano could be triggered by these events. Related search terms, according to Google Trends, included “California earthquake” and “the big one California.”
But these fears are completely unfounded, the USGS has said. In an article on the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory website, scientist-in-charge Mike Poland has explained what impact earthquakes have on volcanic activity—and why the quakes in California will not cause Yellowstone to erupt.
He said that strong earthquakes are not a rare occurrence for the western U.S. The region is covered in fault lines—an interactive map of them can be found here. Fault lines are cracks in the Earth’s crust that have the potential to trigger earthquakes when they move around.