A 4.8 magnitude earthquake rocked Yellowstone National Park Sunday morning, the strongest quake to strike the park since 1980.
University of Utah seismographic stations recorded the quake at 6:34 a.m. Sunday morning about 4 miles north-northeast of the Norris Geyser Basin.
The quake was far enough from residential areas to not cause significant damage but border towns in Montana about 20 miles from the epicenter reported significant shaking. Park rangers say that the park is very sparsely populated during this time of the year.
The USGS reported at least four aftershocks between magnitude 3.1 and 3.3.
Scientists have been watching the caldera of the Yellowstone Super Volcano closely as it has been rising since 2004, however, they said the recent quake is not the sign of an imminent eruption.
The quake comes less than two weeks after residents and reporters began to notice large migrations of bison and other animals away from the park. One video posted on YouTube March 20th showed a herd of bison running down a highway as if a predator was chasing them.
The volcano under Yellowstone National Park, which scientists in April said was larger than previously believed, has now been found to exceed even the earlier expectations.
A sound wave study of the magna chamber under the park has found that it measures 55 miles by 20 miles and contains over 140 cubic miles of molten rock. The team from the University of Utah called their discovery “astounding.”
They also said if the volcano were to erupt it would wipe out America and would devastate life in the rest of the world.
The scientists say the volcano erupts every 700,000 years and that the last time the volcano roared was about 650,000 years ago.
In addition, about twenty smaller super volcanoes have been discovered nearby on the Utah/Nevada border.
A report at the Seismological Society of America’s annual meeting shows that the volcano under Yellowstone National Park is bigger and much better connected than previous scientific reports.
“The magma reservoir is at least 50 percent larger than previously imagined,” Jamie Farrell of the University of Utah stated. Continue reading
Scientists have known for decades that hidden under those impressive vistas at sites such as Death Valley and Yellowstone National Park are magma pools that under the right conditions can trigger explosive eruptions. Continue reading