Sunday morning, Yellowstone National Park woke up to its strongest earthquake in 29 years. Registering a magnitude 4.8, the earthquake struck at 6:34 am MDT with an epicenter 4 miles north-northwest of the Norris Geyser Basin, according to Peter Cervelli of The US Geological Survey. It was the largest quake since a similar 4.8 tremor in 1985.
As The Weather Channel reports:
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 4.8 wasn’t an isolated earthquake as there were two foreshocks, a 2.0 12:23 am and a 3.0 at 4:36 am, as well as at least four aftershocks, ranging in magnitude from 2.5 to 3.3, with the last being recorded at 9:12 MDT. No damage has been reported from any of the earthquakes and, with a low visitor turnout this time of year, there was little risk of injury.
The University of Utah Seismograph Stations, in a press release this morning, noted that:
This earthquake is part of a series of earthquakes that began in this area on Thursday, March 27. As of 8:15 am today, this series has included at least 25 earthquakes in addition to the main shock, with the largest of magnitude 3.1. The magnitude 4.8 main shock was reported felt in Yellowstone National Park and in the towns of West Yellowstone and Gardiner, Montana.
Oklahoma also experienced a series of tremors and earthquakes Saturday night into Sunday morning, with the latest recorded at 7:49 Sunday morning and registering at a 3.2 magnitude. The largest of these, a magnitude 4.5, registered a little over 12 miles north of Crescent, Oklahoma. The KAKE-TV Facebook page in Wichita, KS was flooded with questions of “Did you feel that?” shortly after a magnitude 4.3 quake from the same location was felt shortly before 2 am Sunday and was reported felt as far north as Kansas City. KAKE reported that:
The first quake, a magnitude of 3.5, was recorded just before 11 p.m. Saturday It was centered about 13 miles north of the town of Crescent. At the same location, another 3.5 occurred at 1:37 a.m. Sunday. It was followed by a 4.3 about 15 minutes later and then a 3.3 at 2 a.m.
A 3.5 and a 3.6 were recorded between 3:07 and 3:10 a.m. A second 4.3 followed at 3:42 a.m. They were also centered about 13 miles north of Crescent.
Los Angeles was also hit by an earthquake in the last few days, a magnitude 5.1 Friday evening.
Yellowstone National Park experienced its worst earthquake August 17th, 1959 with the Hebgen Lake Earthquake, a 7.3-7.5 magnitude quake that killed 28 and caused $11 million in damage. Many people are worried about seismic activity in the park due to the Yellowstone Caldera, a supervolcano allegedly overdue for a catastrophic eruption.
For those interested, The US Geological Survey offers a constantly updated log of earthquakes as they happen.