Archive for Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Scientists monitor unusual quakes

December 30, 2008


— Yellowstone National Park was jostled by a host of small earthquakes for a third straight day Monday, and scientists watched closely to see whether the more than 250 tremors were a sign of something bigger to come.

Swarms of small earthquakes happen frequently in Yellowstone, but it’s unusual for so many earthquakes to happen over several days, said Robert Smith, a professor of geophysics at the University of Utah.

“They’re certainly not normal,” Smith said. “We haven’t had earthquakes in this energy or extent in many years.”

Smith directs the Yellowstone Seismic Network, which operates seismic stations in the park. He said the quakes have ranged in strength from barely detectable to one of magnitude 3.8 that happened Saturday. A magnitude 4 quake is capable of producing moderate damage.

“This is an active volcanic and tectonic area, and these are the kinds of things we have to pay attention to,” Smith said. “We might be seeing something precursory.”

Smith said it’s difficult to say what might be causing the tremors. He pointed out that Yellowstone is the caldera of a volcano that last erupted 70,000 years ago.


bondmen 8 years, 11 months ago

Could it have been 68,000 years ago or 72,000 ago or is it easier to tell these stories using zeros? Which Neanderthal reported the volcano 70,000 years ago and in which peer reviewed journal? What cave college did this human progenitor graduate from and in which discipline?

weatherguy48 8 years, 11 months ago

Does it even matter dude? I hope your joking because I'm laughing.

repaste 8 years, 11 months ago

Among others, they can trace the ash layers and count

Shane Garrett 8 years, 11 months ago

Well, perhaps the US will not have to bail out the auto makers as they will no longer exist. Along with all states north of Texas.

SMe 8 years, 11 months ago

One thing about these blogs - they do make it easy to see who is informed on current events or just plain "Eyes Wide Shut."

Chris Golledge 8 years, 11 months ago

No BM, it was 70,000 years ago, today. Or was it yesterday?

salad 8 years, 11 months ago

The 70,000 year ago figure is merely for the most recently erupted material at Yellowstone, which is a small amount of material at...West gyser basin(?). Anyway, the last eruption that made Yellowstone look like it does today (caldera forming eruption) was about 600,000 years ago, and then an even bigger one 1.2 mya. So,'s due.There was an even more interesting event at Yellowstone, which was observed in the 70's, when a bunch of trees at the southern end of yellowstone lake started dying by being submerged. The wierd thing was that the lake level hadn't changed nor had the ground sunk. Geologist eventually discovered that the entire center section of the park had slowly inflated, tipping the lake like saucer and causing the water to submerge the trees. It has since deflated and reinflated slightly.

bearded_gnome 8 years, 11 months ago

center section of the park had slowly inflated, tipping the lake like saucer and causing the water to submerge the trees. It has since deflated and reinflatedslightly.I feel like that most mornings!***hmmm toasty buttery biscuits! toast them by the volcano? yeah. gimme a very long stick.

Chrissy Neibarger 8 years, 11 months ago

Yellowstone Park has been on a regular eruption cycle of 600,000 years. The last eruption was 640,000 years ago…so the next is overdue.

Flap Doodle 8 years, 11 months ago

Relax & have a popsicle, Thready McThreadjack. It's a cool and fruity treat on a winter day.

BigPrune 8 years, 10 months ago

Maybe we'll see if that rapture theory created 150 years ago will come true.

jengaman 8 years, 10 months ago

When the fatties in my office walk by my cube I swear it feels like a 3.8 or higher. Monitor shaking...stuff falling off the walls...mass chaos really. Forget Yellowstone...all of that right here in Lawrence, KS.

salad 8 years, 10 months ago

The definitive book on Yellowstone: written, understandable to the non-geologist, amazing photographs and graphics, and current.

Shane Garrett 8 years, 10 months ago

Thanks None2 and Bigprune. That info make me feel much safer. I think I will still stock up on canned biscuits and sweet jams from Grandma Honers!

mcontrary 8 years, 10 months ago

There were no neanderthals in the Amercas to witness the Yellowstone eruption 70K years ago or at any other time. 70,000 years ago, there probably were no humans on the continent to witness the event, not even the ancestors of today's native Americans. As for an eruption being overdue, stats are wonderful things, but they only describe averages. It could be that rather than being overdue, we have another few hundred-thousand years to go before we should begin to worry about being cheated of another eruption. Or, perhaps it could blow next week. A scone maybe? Lemon and ginger, perhaps?

tangential_reasoners_anonymous 8 years, 10 months ago

... a a a h h h h h h h h a a a h h h h h h h h a a a h h h h h h h h ...

gr 8 years, 10 months ago

"Among others, they can trace the ash layers and count"I'm sorry but your comment was cut off. Count ash layers and then do what with them to conclude an age?

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