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Energetic sequence of earthquakes in Yellowstone National Park

yellowstone-earthquakes-june-2017

An energetic sequence of earthquakes is taking place in the Yellowstone National Park, about 13 km (8 miles) north-northeast of the town of West Yellowstone, Montana, The University of Utah Seismograph Stations, a Yellowstone Volcano Observatory member, reports. The strongest earthquake so far was M4.5 at 00:48 UTC on June 16, 2017. It is the largest earthquake to occur in Yellowstone National Park since March 30, 2014.

In a press release issued 03:03 UTC on June 16, 2017, YVO reports that a light earthquake with recorded magnitude of 4.5 occurred at a depth of 9.4 km (5.8 miles) at 00:48 UTC on June 16 (18:48 MDT on June 15) in the Yellowstone National Park. 

The earthquake was reported felt in the towns of West Yellowstone and Gardiner, Montana and elsewhere in the surrounding region.

"This earthquake is part of an energetic sequence of earthquakes in the same area that began on June 12. This sequence has included approximately thirty earthquakes of magnitude 2 and larger and four earthquakes of magnitude 3 and larger, including yesterday's magnitude 4.5 event," YVO said.

This is the largest earthquake to occur in Yellowstone National Park since March 30, 2014, when a magnitude 4.8 event occurred 29 km (18 miles) to the east, near Norris Geyser Basin. The March 30, 2014 earthquake was the largest earthquake at Yellowstone since February 22, 1980.

YVO is encouraging anyone who felt the earthquake to fill out a survey form either on the Seismograph Stations website: www.quake.utah.edu or the US Geological Survey website: earthquake.usgs.gov.

Yellowstone's current Aviation Color Code is Green, Volcano Alert Level is Normal.

Geological summary

The Yellowstone Plateau volcanic field developed through three volcanic cycles spanning two million years that included some of the world's largest known eruptions. Eruption of the >2450 km3 Huckleberry Ridge Tuff about 2.1 million years ago created the more than 75-km-long (46 miles) Island Park caldera. The second cycle concluded with the eruption of the Mesa Falls Tuff around 1.3 million years ago, forming the 16-km-wide (9.9 miles) Henrys Fork caldera at the western end of the first caldera.

Activity subsequently shifted to the present Yellowstone Plateau and culminated 640 000 years ago with the eruption of the >1000 km3 Lava Creek Tuff and the formation of the present 45 x 85 km (28 x 52 miles) caldera. Resurgent doming subsequently occurred at both the NE and SW sides of the caldera and voluminous (1000 km3) intracaldera rhyolitic lava flows were erupted between 150 000 and 70 000 years ago. No magmatic eruptions have occurred since the late Pleistocene, but large hydrothermal eruptions took place near Yellowstone Lake during the Holocene. Yellowstone is presently the site of one of the world's largest hydrothermal systems including Earth's largest concentration of geysers.

Featured image: Energetic earthquake sequence in Yellowstone National Park – June 2017. Credit: USGS/YVO

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9 Comments

  1. The problem is that those who cry eruption bring themselves into disrepute when the eruption doesn’t happen. The earth and the earth’s climate has its own cycles and man is not capable of precise prediction of these things and ought not embarrass himself by trying.
    Follow the scientific method and report the recorded facts or data. That is the best that can be done.

  2. I have been arguing in the last two years that the eruption of Yellowstone and other super-volcanoes is imminent. The reason is the rapid shift of earth’s magnetic field.

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