What is the probability of the Yellowstone supervolcano erupting during any given year? I had heard that it erupts once every 100,000 years. Does that mean there is a .001% chance of it erupting during any given year?


1 Answer 1


1 in 100,000 is an estimate of frequency based on past eruptions which should not be confused with possbility or probability. It is an oversimplification to state the probability of an eruption as 0.001% chance per year.

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    $\begingroup$ I'd think you'd be likely to see fairly obvious precursors to an eruption several years in advance, in which case your probability goes from 0.001% to 10-20% really fast :-) $\endgroup$
    – jamesqf
    Commented Jan 24, 2017 at 19:11
  • $\begingroup$ Yellowstone is orders of magnitude larger than any volcano we have ever witnessed, so no one is quite sure what the precursors will be or how fast they will happen. The surface of Yellowstone caldera moves up and down all the time. $\endgroup$
    – John
    Commented Jan 26, 2017 at 15:34

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