Yellowstone Lake eruption, April 1, 2009
Well, after all the seismicity and uplift at Yellowstone caldera over the last few years, something finally happened. Early this morning, without much warning, an eruption occurred in Yellowstone Lake (see above) and sent steam and ash up 50,000 feet above the park. Luckily, no one was injured or killed in the event as we're well ahead tourist season, but it is unknown how this might affect access to the park for this summer.
Now, whether this eruption is really just the caldera "letting off steam" so to speak, possibly in the form of a phreatic eruption or a hydrothermal explosion, it is unclear. No samples of the ash have been collected yet to see if its juvenile, but this is the first real signs of life in the "supervolcano" in almost 70,000 years. If this is more than just a hydrothermal event, then we need to be prepared for almost anything from the eruption of new rhyolite domes in Yellowstone Lake to another Huckleberry Ridge-type eruption.
(Oh yes ... and Happy April Fools Day!)
UPDATE 4/1/2009 at 3 PM Pacific: So, most people got my little April Fool's Joke about a minor Yellowstone Lake eruption that went along with a pile of other ScienceBlog pranks. Mostly, I tried to think of an eruption at which volcano would get people most "excited" and Yellowstone was at the very top of the list. Hopefully, most of you can take a joke, even on a science blog, especially one that tries to cut through the misinformation on volcanic eruptions. No worries, this is a once-a-year type entry. The other 364 days of the year, expect (mostly) reliable volcano information and analysis. Sit back, relax and chuckle, because if an eruption at Yellowstone were to actually happen, we'd have wall-to-wall coverage of that sort of event.