Yellowstone National Park South Entrance, Yellowstone visitation

Over 460 Earthquakes Registered in Yellowstone This Year

There have been more than 460 earthquakes in and around Yellowstone National Park, according to seismologists at the University of Utah.

Last week, a 4.5 magnitude earthquake was felt in West Yellowstone, Montana, the strongest quake registered in that area since March 2014, when a 4.8 quake was caught by seismographs. According to the Bozeman Daily Chronicle, however, despite the apparent uptick in activity, most of the tremors aren’t anything to write home about:

The University of Utah, whose seismography stations monitor the park’s quake activity, said Monday night that 464 quakes have been recorded since June 12, including a magnitude 4.4 earthquake near in West Yellowstone on June 15, which was the largest of the swarm to date.

In addition, the swarm has consisted of five quakes in the magnitude 3 range, 57 quakes in the magnitude 2 range, 238 in the magnitude 1 range, 157 in the magnitude zero range and six weaker quakes. The quakes have ranged in depth from zero to 9 miles, relative to sea level.

In total, 115 people reported to the U.S. Geological Survey that they felt the June 15 earthquake near West Yellowstone.

In its report, the University of Utah noted that earthquake swarms are common in Yellowstone and make up about half the total seismic activity of the region.

According to the National Park Service, the largest swarm happened in 1985, when more than 3,000 quakes were recorded in a three-month period in the northwestern portion of the park.

For context, according to Michigan Tech, none of the quakes in this current swarm have been anything more than a “light” earthquake. The full stats are below:

Class Magnitude
Minor 3-3.9
Light 4-4.9
Moderate 5-5.9
Strong 6-6.9
Major 7-7.9
Great 8+

Yellowstone’s deadliest quake (the 1959 Hebgen Lake Earthquake) was a “major” earthquake, clocking in with a 7.3-7.5 magnitude.

The current quake swarm is expected to continue. If you “feel” any quake activity, please report it to the U.S. Geological Survey through its earthquake portal.

About Sean Reichard

Sean Reichard is the editor of Yellowstone Insider and author of Yellowstone Insider For Families 2017.

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