Nature

Yellowstone Supervolcano Earthquake Swarm Now One Of Biggest Ever Recorded

Yellowstone Supervolcano Earthquake Swarm Now One Of Biggest Ever Recorded

Earthquake swarm at Yellowstone is one of the largest and longest on record.

2,357 tremors since June

Researchers monitoring the seismic activity at the infamous Yellowstone super-volcano have claimed that the current swarm of earthquakes is the largest to have ever been recorded with an astonishing 2,357 tremors since June.

Thousands of earthquakes take place at the Yellowstone park on a yearly basis but swarms are slightly more unusual. An earthquake swarm is when numerous earthquakes take place over a course of weeks or months without a clear causational effect between the earthquakes and the aftershocks.

What If Yellowstone Erupted Tomorrow?

The most powerful of the earthquakes in this current swarm occurred on June 15th and measured in at 4.4 on the Richter scale.

Most of the earthquakes that have occurred in the current swarm have been rather gentle, measuring in at a magnitude of between 0 and 1 on the Richter scale. A further 181 small earthquakes measured at magnitude two and eleven reached magnitude three.

The vast majority of the earthquakes that occurred were not perceptible to people in the region and could only be detected using sensitive earthquake monitoring instruments.

According to Jamie Farrell, a research professor at the University of Utah who is currently working on the project, the large swarm of earthquakes is ‘nothing out of the ordinary’ and is nothing for the public to be concerned about. Unlike ordinary volcanoes, earthquakes underneath super-volcanoes such as Yellowstone do not signal that an eruption is liable to take place.

This means that the volcano alert level at Yellowstone is still marked as normal by the US Geological Survey and the super-volcano does not present a potential risk to airplanes passing overheard.

According to Jacob Lowenstern, one of the scientists in charge of the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory, Yellowstone has experienced a number of these intense swarms over the past one hundred and fifty years but has not experienced an eruption for more than 70,000 years.

He explained that for the magma to reach the surface of the Earth, then a new vent would need to be created in the vicinity of the crater. For that to occur there would have to be a particularly intense period of geological activity, and this current swarm of earthquakes does not constitute that. Lowestern said that the team would only be concerned about a potential eruption if there were significantly more earthquakes measuring much higher on the Richter scale than the current crop.

He also said that these earthquakes would be accompanied by ground deformation, explosions of steam and changes in the gas and the heat discharge if an eruption was imminent. However, he reassured the public that none of these warning signals has occurred.

However, the ongoing earthquake swarm is still distinctive even though it is not dangerous as it is now one of the largest and longest swarms to have ever been recorded. The largest earthquake swarm that has ever been recorded at Yellowstone was during 1985 when more than 3000 earthquakes were detected.

Reply as guest, log in or create an account