- Current Update, last updated Apr 3, 2014 13:57 MDT:
Seismicity: Updated April 3 to reflect final earthquake totals from the University of Utah
During March 2014, the University of Utah reports 332 earthquakes were located in the Yellowstone National Park region. This total reflects the completed processing of the March seismicity by the University of Utah Seismograph Stations (UUSS), responsible for the operation and analysis of the Yellowstone Seismic Network. The largest event was a light earthquake of magnitude 4.8 on March 30, at 06:34 AM MDT, located four miles north-northeast of Norris Geyser Basin in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming (Note: UUSS revised magnitude from 4.7, after further study). The M4.8 main shock was reported felt in Yellowstone National Park, in the towns of Gardiner and West Yellowstone, Montana and throughout the region. This is the largest earthquake at Yellowstone since the early 1980s. Initial source analysis of the M4.8 earthquake suggests a tectonic origin (mostly strike-slip motion).
March 2014 seismicity was dominated by two earthquake clusters in the Norris Geyser Basin region and are described below.
1) A north-south trending series of earthquakes, over seven miles in length, began in September, 2013 and persisted throughout March with 130 events. The largest earthquake (magnitude 3.5) occurred on March 26, at 05:59 PM MDT, located 13 miles south-southwest of Mammoth, WY.
2) The earthquake series containing the March 30 magnitude 4.8 event began on March 27 and continues into April. At the end of March the series consisted of 151 located earthquakes, including the largest earthquake of the month, four magnitude 3 earthquakes, and numerous magnitude 2 and smaller earthquakes.
Earthquake sequences like these are common and account for roughly 50% of the total seismicity in the Yellowstone region.
Yellowstone earthquake activity in March is elevated compared with typical background levels.
The ground deformation occurring in north-central Yellowstone continues. Since August 1, 2013, the NRWY GPS station has moved about 1.5 cm east, 2 cm north, and 5.5 cm up.
Further south, the caldera subsidence, which began in 2010, has ceased. Since the beginning of 2014, the caldera has been slowly rising at a rate of about 2 cm/yr. All the deformation currently occurring in Yellowstone remains well within historical norms.
The Yellowstone GPS network recorded no deformation associated with the March 30, 2014 M4.8 earthquake. Earthquakes of this size and depth do not typically produce ground displacements large enough to detect with GPS.
The GPS field crew at Yellowstone has traveled around the Park over the past week and has not observed any effects from the earthquake. If any subtle changes have occurred, they are most likely to be found after the snow melts.
YVO's real time temperature data in Norris Geyser Basin indicate no significant changes to the thermal features that are monitored.(http://volcanoes.usgs.gov/volcanoes/yellowstone/yellowstone_monitoring_32.html)
- Volcanic History Overview: 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 cu km Huckleberry Ridge Tuff about 2.1 million years ago created the more than 75-km-long 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 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 cu km Lava Creek Tuff and the formation of the present 45 x 85 km caldera. Resurgent doming subsequently occurred at both the NE and SW sides of the caldera and voluminous (1000 cu km) 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 phreatic 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.
- Location: Western US, WY
Elevation: 2805 m
- Hazard Assessments: Christiansen, R. L., Lowenstern, J. B., Smith, R. B., Heasler, H, Morgan, L. A., Nathenson, M., Mastin, L. G., Muffler, L. J. P., and Robinson, J. E., 2007, Preliminary Assessment of Volcanic and Hydrothermal Hazards in Yellowstone National Park and Vicinity, U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2007-1071.
- Link to monitoring data:
Recent earthquake activity in Yellowstone National Park (map and catalog with links)
GPS Measured Horizontal Ground Motions
Provisional real-time stream-flow data
See the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory Monitoring Page for more.
Volcanic Alert Level: NORMAL Aviation Color Code: GREEN