Update: Yellowstone National Park Public Affairs Chief Al Nash said in a YouTube video that the bison movement is completely normal (caused by the harsh weather) and that they "have seen no signs to suggest the Yellowstone volcano is about to erupt."
Um, should we be worried?
A herd of bison was seen running through Yellowstone National Park, which ordinarily wouldn't cause much alarm. But since their movement coincides with the 4.8-magnitude earthquake that hit last weekend, some folks think they're not running…but fleeing.
Fleeing from what? Well, a supervolcano lies within Yellowstone National Park, so a lot of people are taking the bison's activity as a sign of an impending eruption. Animals have been known to sense geological events before they happen, which is why whenever our cats run under the bed for seemingly no reason, we hit the deck as well.
(Most of the time they're just doing it to mess with us. Cats are a--holes.)
Ilya Bindeman, who is an associate professor of geological sciences at the University of Oregon, doesn't think there should be any reason to be alarmed. He believes an eruption isn't due for another million years.
"Yellowstone is one of the biggest supervolcanos in the world," he said. "Sometimes it erupts quietly with lava flow, but once or twice every million years, it erupts very violently, forming large calderas."
The University of Utah Seismograph Stations also have no evidence to support an imminent eruption.
"There is no evidence that a catastrophic eruption at Yellowstone National Park is imminent," said the service. "Current geologic activity at Yellowstone has remained relatively constant since earth scientists first started monitoring some 30 years ago. Though another caldera-forming eruption is theoretically possible, it is very unlikely to occur in the next thousand or even 10,000 years."
There have also been reports of bison basically on a tear through Yellowstone and really messing things up. The herds have reportedly been intruding on the native habitat of the endangered Mexican spotted owl, knocking down Native American cliff dwellings and using the water supply as a personal toilet.
So either the bison are running or they're just raging. Bison can #YOLO, too. Also not helping with the panic is USA Today using the video of bison running around Yellowstone and putting very dramatic music over it. Anything is scary with the right soundtrack. Put Inception music over footage of someone running around a track and you might think they're out to destroy the world.
You can watch the non-terrifying version below:
But just in case something is about to happen, you can prepare yourself by going to the Red Cross website and reading all about what to do in case of a volcano eruption.
(Originally published on Thursday, April 3 at 9:20 AM PDT)