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Yellowstone Quake Swarm Ongoing- Produces M4.5 Quake

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posted on Jun, 16 2017 @ 12:38 AM
An earthquake swarm at Yellowstone has been ongoing for the last few days, and just produced a surprising, magnitude 4.5 earthquake. It is the largest of the sequence so far.

A statement released from the YVO reads as follows:

U.S. Geological Survey
Thursday, June 15, 2017, 9:03 PM MDT (Friday, June 16, 2017, 03:03 UTC)

44°25'48" N 110°40'12" W, Summit Elevation 9203 ft (2805 m)
Current Volcano Alert Level: NORMAL
Current Aviation Color Code: GREEN

The University of Utah, a YVO member agency, sent out the following press release about a magnitude 4.5 earthquake near West Yellowstone, MT that occurred at 6:48 PM MDT.

University of Utah Seismograph Stations

Released: June 15, 2017 07:55 PM MDT

The University of Utah Seismograph Stations reports that a light earthquake of magnitude 4.5 occurred at 06:48 PM on June 15, 2017 (MDT). The epicenter of the shock was located in Yellowstone National Park, eight miles north-northeast of the town of West Yellowstone, Montana. The earthquake was reported felt in the towns of West Yellowstone and Gardiner, Montana, in Yellowstone National Park, and elsewhere in the surrounding region. Today's earthquake is part of an energetic sequence of earthquakes in the same area that began on June 12. This sequence has included approximately thirty earthquakes of magnitude 2 and larger and four earthquakes of magnitude 3 and larger, including today's magnitude 4.5 event. Today's earthquake is the largest earthquake to occur in Yellowstone National Park since March 30, 2014, when a magnitude 4.8 event occurred 18 miles to the east, near Norris Geyser Basin.

Anyone who felt the earthquake is encouraged to fill out a survey form either on the Seismograph Stations website: or the US Geological Survey website:

So of course I have been watching this, but was at work when this bigger 4.5 occurred. Was kind of surprised when I got home to find that the swarm has started intensifying, and I may need to take back what I said in the Yellowstone thread about it appearing to be tectonic or hydrothermal.

With the quantity and magnitudes of many of the bigger quakes in the sequence, I now believe this could be some kind of magma movement. Especially considering the way the plume goes down to the northwest from the lake into Idaho. Magma movement deep can cause local faults, like the Red Canyon Fault these quakes are occurring on, to move. But for that we will need to defer to the experts. I will write to my contacts and see if there is any news for us, and maybe get an opinion. That could take a while, so don't expect an answer too soon.

In the meantime, some of those signatures in spectro have changed now into looking more like the rapid fire swarms of the past that were later determined to be magma injections. In addition, this is a case of multiple swarms in several locations:

While this swarm started out pretty slow and innocent looking, it has evolved into one that our scientists are no doubt watching very closely. So I'll see what I can find out... Stay tuned...
edit on Fri Jun 16th 2017 by TrueAmerican because: (no reason given)

posted on Jun, 16 2017 @ 12:48 AM
a reply to: TrueAmerican

Its the eastern half of the "ring of fire" thats coming to lufe including the cascadia area...Washington state on up into Alaska.

posted on Jun, 16 2017 @ 12:53 AM
a reply to: TrueAmerican

Stay tuned...

Tuned in for sure. .. if your eyes are peeled and ears are perked, the rest of us would be wise to take interest.

+2 more 
posted on Jun, 16 2017 @ 01:11 AM
Ok so here's some special shots for you guys from my rig, so you can see what's been going on for the last few hours starting from the 4.5 mag quake. Here's the general webicorder plot from station YMC:

And here is a closeup shot of the 4.5 mag quake and right after it in spectro:

See all that skipping and spikes right after the main shock? That is what is looking awful volcanic like to me. But that's just my opinion. For now.

Email sent to contacts.
edit on Fri Jun 16th 2017 by TrueAmerican because: (no reason given)

posted on Jun, 16 2017 @ 01:16 AM
Thanks for posting this great information!

posted on Jun, 16 2017 @ 01:21 AM
a reply to: TrueAmerican

Is this something in the 2-3 mhz range?

posted on Jun, 16 2017 @ 01:24 AM
a reply to: jadedANDcynical

mhz range? lol, Lord no.

What you circled is in the 1 to 5 Hz range or so. Spectro generally shows frequencies from 1 Hz at the very bottom to about 20 or 25 Hz at the very top. These are the frequencies of seismic/volcanic activity.

edit on Fri Jun 16th 2017 by TrueAmerican because: (no reason given)

posted on Jun, 16 2017 @ 01:27 AM

originally posted by: jadedANDcynical
a reply to: TrueAmerican

Is this something in the 2-3 mhz range?

What would that indicate?

posted on Jun, 16 2017 @ 01:28 AM
Should I be getting my Limo, RV, and Cessna ready to go?

I'm only half joking. What does it mean when a magma flow occurs? Did the Magma burn itself a new path?

posted on Jun, 16 2017 @ 01:41 AM
a reply to: TrueAmerican


That's what I meant. I know it's way lower than megahertz range, not been in seismic threads in a while.

( grabs the cone hat and heads to the corner)

posted on Jun, 16 2017 @ 02:22 AM
And the quakes just keep coming. Most are small in intensity. But they are more and more starting to appear like the special type of "rock break" quakes that volcanologists often talk about. They are short in duration and very spiky. They occur when magma forces itself through crevices and the rocks around it "pop" from the pressure, creating these low magnitude quakes. And I will be the first to admit I might be entirely wrong. Other than that though, I haven't seen anything that looks potentially dangerous like long-period quakes or tremor signals. Yet.

I am basically hoping that these small quakes are stress redistribution quakes from the 4.5, the way we have seen in so many quake swarms near faults before. It should be noted these ARE occurring near the Red Canyon fault, so they well could be just tectonic, fault-related seismicity. Honestly, I am not sure. I just keep watching though, and if anything interesting happens I can always post a spectro of it.
edit on Fri Jun 16th 2017 by TrueAmerican because: (no reason given)

ETA: Now we seem to be getting some double tap type quakes (small quakes that happen in pairs, real close together- a classic YS signature.)
edit on Fri Jun 16th 2017 by TrueAmerican because: (no reason given)

posted on Jun, 16 2017 @ 02:58 AM
Perhaps the swarm isn't the volcano reawakening. Yellowstone is a hot spot that moves with the North American plate, maybe the plate lurches occassionally, and in the process, swarms are created as the rock melts and resettles in the new location.

I only have an interest in geology, so my thoughts comes from a basic understanding.

You are passionate about the Earth, and I love how you educate and keep us up to date.

posted on Jun, 16 2017 @ 03:26 AM
a reply to: TrueAmerican

Perhaps quakes of that kind are common in the general area, not just Yellowstone
But Yellowstone is being monitored so intensely that it is the monitoring itself that have made it to a "active place"
because we see more because we listen more

posted on Jun, 16 2017 @ 03:27 AM
Something to watch
Active area though

How does the magma under it tie into the PNW Volcanoes?

Does this indicate magma is on the move??

posted on Jun, 16 2017 @ 07:19 AM
Just tossing this in as with some funding we could determine if a Yellowstone Eruption is more imminent than not.

Volcanologists are gaining a new understanding of what's going on inside the magma reservoir that lies below an active volcano and they're finding a colder, more solid place than previously thought, according to new research published June 16 in the journal Science. It's a new view of how volcanoes work, and could eventually help volcanologists get a better idea of when a volcano poses the most risk.

"Our concept of what a magma reservoir looks like has to change," said Kari Cooper, professor of earth and physical sciences at the University of California, Davis and corresponding author on the paper.

It's hard to study magma directly. Even at volcanic sites, it lies miles beneath the Earth's surface and while geologists have occasionally drilled into magma by accident or design, heat and pressure destroy any instrument you could try to put into it.

Instead, Cooper and her colleagues collected zircon crystals from debris deposited around Mount Tarawera in New Zealand by an eruption about 700 years ago. That eruption, roughly five times the size of Mount St. Helens in 1980, brought lava to the surface that had resided in the reservoir, exposed to its temperature and chemistry. Once on the surface, that record of the past was frozen in place.

The crystals are like a "black box" flight recorder for studying volcanic eruptions, Cooper said. "Instead of trying to piece together the wreckage, the crystals can tell us what was going on while they were below the surface, including the run up to an eruption."

posted on Jun, 16 2017 @ 10:35 AM
Thanks, TA, for keeping a sharp eye on this!!

Guess I'll make sure my car is always full of gas and the bug-out bag is in it!!

posted on Jun, 16 2017 @ 11:53 AM
Ok so, I have an update. I am very fortunate in that relationships I have maintained for over ten years are still there with the right people, and so a response has come.

The gist of it is this:
The main swarm area of the 4.5 quake and its smaller surrounding quakes east of Hebgen Lake is a location of many swarms of the past, and so apparently does not concern scientists as much. This basically was my feeling too as I pointed out in the OP. That's more or less what I meant by "the location" of the main swarm. So much of the rock in YS is highly fractured, as we know, and so it is highly susceptible and prone to either tectonic or hydrothermal based swarms that bark loudly sometimes but in the end don't really have much bite.

What apparently is concerning them more is the uplift around Norris which still continues, and some quakes in a separate smaller swarm which may be related to that uplift. I was reassured that many scientific eyes are on this, and further analysis will be forthcoming. I would expect some references to this in the next monthly YVO update, although that will likely still be preliminary- as deep analysis of seismic movements when a volcano is involved take a lot more time than typical tectonic-based quakes.

In the meantime, the quakes are still coming, with the 4.5, which I think was just reduced slightly to a 4.3, still being the top dog so far.

My thoughts on this are that if this is tectonic, wouldn't we have seen more of a mainshock-aftershock sequence? That is not what happened. The swarm started small and escalated from there, in typical YS fashion. Only long term analysis will tell with higher confidence what is actually the cause. So we must wait.

And so like always, I just keep my eyes glued to the spectro, in case something really nasty happens- which it probably won't. But we must never, EVER, get complacent with something this powerful, and the scientists are well aware of this.

posted on Jun, 16 2017 @ 02:02 PM
a reply to: TrueAmerican

Is this indicative of the caldera blowing off? As I understand it, if the caldera blows off, its curtains for the entirety of North America.

posted on Jun, 16 2017 @ 02:40 PM
Lol, no. Believe me, I'll let you know when it's time to have panic sex. So far, with the experience we have with YS over all these years, this is so far a straight down the line, characteristic YS swarm. Textbook case.

What we need to watch for is anything out of the norm. Like long period events or God forbid, tremor. That just is not likely at all to happen. There has never, ever, been either detected at YS, even through all the swarms over the years.

Now with all that said, take a look at this heliplot from station YMC, the closest to the swarm:

Now to me, if ever I have seen "rock break" type quakes, those are it. Short duration, slim spikey quakes. But I could be wrong.

posted on Jun, 16 2017 @ 02:42 PM
a reply to: TrueAmerican

I live about 90 miles as the crow flies from the rim of the caldera. I sure perk my ears up and appreciate these contributions.

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