News Stories

Earthquake Swarm in Yellowstone

In earthfiles.com, our Dreamland science reporter Linda Howe writes that after many warnings, it's finally happened: Yellowstone has become dangerously restless. But it's not the volcano eruption that has long been anticipated, it's an "intense earthquake swarm," consisting of 250 separate quakes, that could lead to an eruption.

Linda writes, "This energetic sequence of events was most intense on December 27, when the largest number of events of magnitude 3 and up to 3.9 occurred. The Yellowstone Caldera erupted about 640,000 years ago in a 'super volcano' that produced 240 cubic miles of ash distributed in a radial pattern from Lava Creek around the caldera."

Fox News reports quotes geophysicist Robert Smith as saying, "They're certainly not normal. We haven't had earthquakes in this energy or extent in many years?This is an active volcanic and tectonic area, and these are the kinds of things we have to pay attention to. We might be seeing something precursory" (In other words, things can change at any time, in a major way).

"Could it develop into a bigger fault or something related to hydrothermal activity? We don't know. That's what we're there to do, to monitor it for public safety."

Art credit: freeimages.co.uk

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