Saturday, February 5, 2011

A Pair of Light Earthquakes at Yellowstone Super Volcano

Map Centered at 42°N, 110°W

Tonight, at the Yellowstone Volcano, just over an hour ago, we had a 3 point plus magnitude earthquake, and another smaller one today. Along with these there has been a mild earthquake swarm. This is a place of much interest to the public safety community and geologists, for this is the Yellowstone Super Volcano. This volcano is a collapsed caldera, and still has an immense magma chamber below it. Heat from that magma is heating up water, creating the famous Old Faithful gyaser. There are many other tale tale features throughout the park, telling of the existence of a large volcano. Practically the whole park is a volcano! Yellowstone Lake has evidence of a powerful steam explosion, which created one of the coves, and there are hot water ponds next to the lake, where local wild bison hang around to stay warm. One very recent event is very interesting. Yellowstone Lake's water level has shifted, and when investigated by scientists, an area of up lift of the ground in one area was discovered, as well as a lowering of the ground in another area. Just to the north of Yellowstone Lake is an area of ground swelling, and is often thought of as an area of lava domes.

Last year there was an earthquake swarm at Yellowstone, with thousands of small and moderate earthquakes. It had a few people alarmed. Authorities claimed that it was no big deal. The area is prone to earthquake swarms - but one as intense as the one last year?

I'll post more on Yellowstone when I have the time, for on Saturday I'm heading off to Salton Buttes volcano to image it - so I'll be on the road in a short while! Not much time now for pulling up papers and links. But what I can do for now, is suggest that you goggle Yellowstone Volcano and do some learning. I also suggest clicking into this USGS link now and then, throughout the week, and watch the micro and moderate quakes closely. It's very interesting to observe. And a little scary.

Take note that any strong earthquake, stronger than 6.5 mag, can kick the magma into action, if indeed that magma is disturbed out of balance enough. If a quake were to cause a deep fissure, and if water were to come into direct contact with the magma - things might become rather explosive. Or, not. Your guess work is as good as mine on that one!

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