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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

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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)

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