According to the United States Geological Survey, nearly 91 earthquakes hit the southwest region of Yellowstone National Park in less than 24-hours on Thursday.
Michael Poland, the lead scientist at the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory, says that although this region is one of the most active for earthquakes in the United States, this event “is on the large side in terms of number and magnitude, but nowhere near the largest.”
“Yellowstone has had swarms that include many hundreds of earthquakes in a day,” Poland said. “For example, there was a 3-month-long swarm that occurred in June-September 2017 with 2,400 located earthquakes and maximum [magnitude] 4.4.”
None of the recent earthquakes surpassed a 3.0 magnitude. The largest was a 2.8 magnitude quake and the smallest clocking in at just a 0.1 magnitude. Usually, you can feel a tremor between a magnitude of 2.5 and 5.4. The result is only minor damage.
Along with the 91 quakes, fake tremors were set off by “vibroseis” trucks driven through the park by the University of Utah and New Mexico. These 70,000-pound trucks vibrate steel plates on the ground at a low energy frequency. The help researchers get an idea of the top of Yellowstone’s magma chamber.
In other words, they are checking on the dreaded “supervolcano”.
The USGS Volcano Hazards Program announced that there are no signs of an immediate eruption. He also added that it was at a “normal” alert level on September 1.
The recent spike in earthquakes might have made others nervous in the area, but it was good news for the seismologists on the project.
“So, the 91 quakes were real quakes, and it happened to occur when there is also a synthetic experiment happening, which is really cool because it means the natural swarm was ‘seen’ by hundreds of temporary seismometers,” Poland wrote. “It will be the best-recorded earthquake swarm in Yellowstone ever!”
Yellowstone usually endures around 1,500 to 2,000 earthquakes annually, according to the USGS.
[H/T Yahoo News]