Are bison and other animals fleeing Yellowstone National Park in record numbers because they sense an impending eruption of the park's supervolcano Yellowstone Caldera?
That's the theory being tossed around by a number of bloggers who cite recent seismic activity, including a magnitude 4.8 quake that rattled the park near the Wyoming-Montanta border on Monday, just days after a magnitude 5.1 temblor was felt by an estimated 17 million people over a large swath of Southern California.
"Whether I believe this, or whether I don’t believe the story or not, I don’t know. I can tell you this story I saw this morning about the buffaloes running the street … whether or not it’s because of any activity in Yellowstone or not, I don’t know," said blogger Jay Lee, who posted a story on his site tatoott1009.com.
"But I’ll tell you this, whatever the case may be, that their running away from Yellowstone is an alert of some sort.
"It also could be from this video, where poachers are killing them, chasing them, abusing them, running them around,” he said. “Could be hundreds of things for them to be running. I wanted you to listen [to the videos] and make up your own mind on what to think."
Seismic activity at Yellowstone isn't unusual. The land boasts the world's largest collection of geysers, formed by volcanic activity.
Monday's earthquake was the largest in 34 years and the latest in a flurry of temblors that began last week, with more than 25 smaller quakes reported in that time by the University of Utah's seismographs.
"Herds of bison running for their lives on the public roadways and they were not being chased or rounded up, the bison were running down the mountain slopes onto roadways running right past a filming crew. They detect something vast and deadly. The Yellowstone Supervolcano is the only thing there that would fit the bill,” said Tom Lupshu, a self-described survivalist and search-and-rescue expert, in a YouTube video.
Researchers recently discovered that the supervolcano is approximately 2.5 times bigger than previously thought.
A team that included professor Bob Smith of the University of Utah found that the cavern stretches for more than 55 miles.
"We’ve been working there for a long time, and we've always thought it would be bigger … but this finding is astounding," Smith told the BBC.
Smith said researchers are unsure when the supervolcano would erupt again.
They believe the last major eruption happened approximately 640,000 years ago and sent ash across the entire continent of North America.