Share

Yellowstone Earthquake: Volcanic Eruption Not Expected After Strongest Tremor in 34 Years

By Nick Wiltgen
Published: March 31, 2014

Yellowstone National Park was shaken by its largest earthquake in 34 years Sunday, but scientists say there is no concern that the quake will lead to an eruption of the Yellowstone Caldera, a supervolcano located in the park.

(MORE: Yellowstone's Magma Chamber Larger Than Once Thought)

The magnitude-4.8 earthquake struck inside the park boundaries at 6:34 a.m. MDT Sunday. The epicenter was near the middle of the park, near the Norris Geyser Basin, according to Peter Cervelli of the U.S. Geological Survey.

Background

Earthquake Details

Earthquake Details

Earthquake Details

Earthquake Details

The quake, the largest since another 4.8 tremor on February 22, 1980, was preceded by two foreshocks measuring 2.8 and 3.0 at 12:23 a.m. and 4:36 a.m. Sunday, respectively. The main shock was then followed by at least four aftershocks ranging in magnitude from 2.5 to 3.3 later Sunday morning.

There were no immediate reports of damage. There are few visitors in the park this time of year.

Cervelli said the earthquake is interesting scientifically because of the length of time since a quake of equal intensity. He added that data gathered from earthquakes give scientists great insight into volcanoes and tectonics.

However, Cervelli said there are no hazardous implications, and that the Yellowstone Caldera is not about to erupt.

The earthquakes at Yellowstone came on the same day that a swarm of quakes, three of them greater than magnitude 4.0, struck central Oklahoma.

(MORE: Strongest Quakes of 2014 Swarm Oklahoma)

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

MORE: Yellowstone National Park Photos

Earth's Hot Spot

Earth's Hot Spot

From our partners

Much of what is now Yellowstone National Park was formed over a period of some 2 million years, during which magma chambers underneath the earth's surface exploded in a series of eruptions with almost unimaginable power, sending molten rock and ash raining over much of the western U.S. (Jeff Gunn/flickr.com)

  • Earth's Hot Spot
  • Earth's Hot Spot
  • Earth's Hot Spot
  • Earth's Hot Spot
  • Earth's Hot Spot
  • Earth's Hot Spot
  • Earth's Hot Spot
  • Earth's Hot Spot
  • Earth's Hot Spot
  • Earth's Hot Spot
  • Earth's Hot Spot
  • Earth's Hot Spot

Featured Blogs

Invest 94L Off the Coast of Africa May Slowly Develop

By Dr. Jeff Masters
July 29, 2015

The first African tropical wave worthy of being classified by NHC as an area of interest (an "Invest") has emerged from the coast of Africa, and lies a few hundred miles southeast of the Cape Verde Islands. Invest 94L has conditions that favor some slow development over the next few days.

Another Dry California Precipitation Season Draws to a Close

By Christopher C. Burt
June 30, 2015

The 2014-2015 precipitation season ended today (June 30th) and the drought continues unabated. Although the precipitation totals for the July 1-June 30 (2014-2015) period do not appear to be all that bad (generally 60-85% of average) this does not tell the whole story. A very wet December saved what otherwise would have been a catastrophically dry year. In fact, the past six months (since January 1st) have been one of the driest such periods on record for many locations, including San Francisco. Here are some details about the past rainy season and the current drought.

PWS Service Interruption Update

By Shaun Tanner
June 16, 2015

The development team here at Weather Underground has been hard at work producing a new homepage! Please take a look at the sneak peek and tell us what you think!

Meteorological images of the year - 2014

By Stu Ostro
December 30, 2014

My 9th annual edition.

2013-14 - An Interesting Winter From A to Z

By Tom Niziol
May 15, 2014

It was a very interesting winter across a good part of the nation from the Rockies through the Plains to the Northeast. Let's break down the most significant winter storms on a month by month basis.

What the 5th IPCC Assessment Doesn't Include

By Angela Fritz
September 27, 2013

Melting permafrost has the potential to release an additional 1.5 trillion tons of carbon into the atmosphere, and could increase our global average temperature by 1.5°F in addition to our day-to-day human emissions. However, this effect is not included in the IPCC report issued Friday morning, which means the estimates of how Earth's climate will change are likely on the conservative side.