USGS fights false Yellowstone warning

Blogging on EARTH

Unsubstantial warnings don’t fly with the U.S. Geological Survey. Following the recent swarms of earthquakes at Yellowstone, the website issued a “legitimate-looking” warning using the USGS logo that suggested immediate evacuation. USGS says the warning is bogus, and now the government is pursuing legal action against the site’s creator.

Although there was an unusual “swarm” of over 500 earthquakes at Yellowstone, mostly between Dec. 26 and Jan. 1, earthquakes at Yellowstone are certainly not unprecedented. Scientists continue to keep their eyes on the quakes, but they do not believe them to be cause for concern or signs of an impending volcanic eruption.

"The main issue we have is we don't want people to believe it's coming from us," Jessica Robertson, a spokesperson for USGS, told Montana's Billings Gazette. USGS has reason to be concerned — the site with the phony warning contained a link to the USGS home page. 

UPDATE: the website is now down. However, earlier this month Chris Sanders, the creator of, posted a Youtube video issuing his warning about Yellowstone.

Alexandra Ossola
Wednesday, January 14, 2009 - 05:00