Yellowstone quake was strongest since 1980

Apr 1, 2014 The Associated Press

YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK (AP) -- The U.S. Geological Survey says the magnitude-4.8 earthquake that shook northern Yellowstone National Park is the strongest there since 1980.

But the Sunday quake was still considered relatively light, and its location didn't raise concerns about the park's supervolcano, which experts say has the potential to erupt with a force about 2,000 times the size of Mount St. Helens and would have worldwide effects.

The University of Utah Seismograph Stations says the earthquake occurred at 6:34 a.m. about 4 miles north-northeast of the Norris Geyser Basin. It was felt in the Montana border towns of West Yellowstone and Gardiner.

There were no immediate reports of damage. The park has few visitors and staff this time of year.

Yellowstone sees frequent earthquakes. Since Thursday, there have been at least 25 recorded.

Sunday's event was the largest earthquake at Yellowstone since Feb. 22, 1980.

It occurred near the center of a region of recent ground uplift described in a Yellowstone Volcano Observatory information statement on Feb. 18.

The Yellowstone Volcano Observatory has been tracking this uplift episode for about 7 months.

Seismic activity in the general region of the uplift has been elevated for several months. A USGS field team is in Yellowstone to visit the area near the earthquake's epicenter. The team will look for any surface changes that the earthquake may have caused, and for possible effects to the hydrothermal system at Norris Geyser Basin.

Based on the style and location of today's earthquake, at this time YVO sees no indication of additional geologic activity other than continuing seismicity.

The Yellowstone Volcano Observatory provides long-term monitoring of volcanic and earthquake activity in the Yellowstone National Park region. YVO is one of the five USGS Volcano Observatories that monitor volcanoes within the United States for science and public safety.

YVO member agencies are the USGS, Yellowstone National Park, University of Utah, University of Wyoming, UNAVCO Inc., Wyoming State Geological Survey, Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology, Idaho Geological Survey

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