Troubling Earthquake Cluster Near Noris Geyser Basin In Yellowstone

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Yellowstone National Park hit by 4.8-magnitude earthquake after California is shaken by major tremor | Mail Online:  the San Andreas is important only because people foolishly built infrastructure and homes on top of or crossing this very active  slip/slide fault.  But Yellowstone is different: it can trigger an Ice Age if conditions are right and it can destroy much of the human habitation of North America if the explosion is as big as some have been in the past.  It is the Sleeping Dragon we must all fear and watch.

3 earthquakes March 30 2014

  • Occurred about 6.30am this morning, four miles north-northeast of the Norris Geyser Basin in Montana
  • Observers were concerned the quake would cause supervolcano Yellowstone Caldera to erupt
  • No injuries or significant damage reported

Yellowstone earthquakes march 30 2014

  • California was hit by a 5.1-magnitude quake on Friday, with residents warned an even bigger one could follow
  • It rattled a wide swathe of Southern California, breaking water mains in a nearby community and prompting Disneyland to shut down rides
  • Friday’s tremor was the second sizeable tremor in two weeks, following a 4.4 quake on March 17


We can see from the data below that this quake that after a pause from the March 17 quake, it began shaking on the 26th with the 4.8 quake coming after four days.


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The hot springs nearest to the quake epicenter which was four miles away is a Geothermal areas of Yellowstone called the Norris Geyser Basin.  It is the hottest geyser in the park which means the magna is close to the surface in this depression. Recently, there have been a lot of talk about a ‘malfunctioning’ bore hole monitor:  So, You Think Yellowstone Is About to Erupt | Science Blogs | WIRED:



One of the biggest culprits in generating these blazes, at least in my neck of the woods, is Yellowstone Caldera. Very few volcanoes can offer the same insta-panic reaction that Yellowstone can, which leads to people either (a) making all sorts of wild conjectures out of fear and (b) making all sorts of wild conjectures out of malicious mischief. Many of you have emailed or tweeted me about the various flavors of Yellowstone rumors that abound (like the one recently that claims an eruption is about to occur) based on the misbehavior of a single seismometer. The Yellowstone Volcano Observatory had this to say about the borehole B944 seismometer:


The [Yellowstone eruption coming] story appears to be based on a misinterpretation of public “webicorders”, which are graphics depicting seismic data, on the University of Utah Seismographic Station (UUSS) web site (UU operates the Yellowstone Seismic Network). A borehole seismometer called “B944″, located near the West Thumb region of the Park, has been malfunctioning in recent weeks with strong bursts of electronic noise contaminating its data. These noise bursts appear as wild excursions on the B944 webicorders that can appear alarming to the inexperienced eye.


Study: Yellowstone magma much bigger than thought (Update) scared everyone but the government assures us, all is well:  USGS: Volcano Hazards Program – Yellowstone FAQs: Questions About Supervolcanoes


QUESTION: What is the chance of another catastrophic volcanic eruption at Yellowstone?
ANSWER: Although it is possible, scientists are not convinced that there will ever be another catastrophic eruption at Yellowstone. Given Yellowstone’s past history, the yearly probability of another caldera-forming eruption could be calculated as 1 in 730,000 or 0.00014%. However, this number is based simply on averaging the two intervals between the three major past eruptions at Yellowstone — this is hardly enough to make a critical judgment. This probability is roughly similar to that of a large (1 kilometer) asteroid hitting the Earth. Moreover, catastrophic geologic events are neither regular nor predictable.


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Yellowstone is a stationary hot spot the North American continent passes over as it heads relentlessly towards China.  So, the last major eruption was a mere 174,000 years ago.  I find it rather odd and actually insane that we are being warned that this is no big deal while the CO2 business is all ‘we are doomed!’ nonstop.

Last Yellowstone eruption made earth colder


The Ice Ages run alongside the many big eruptions of the Yellowstone caldera system which has traveled across the Western landscape burying everything in its path and sometimes covering much of the US, too.  Assuring that this monster volcano is ‘safe’ is ridiculous.  It might not erupt in the next year but it can!  We don’t know!  These eruptions can happen quite suddenly because this is NOT a regular volcano, this is a caldera and like rift eruptions, has a certain sudden aspect we little understand.


We do know from Iceland that these sorts of eruptions come with little warning so I would assume the snoring Yellowstone Dragon would behave the same unreasonable way.  And yes, we should ponder this and even worry about this since it has a 100% chance of happening in the future.

sunset borger

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Filed under Geology

8 responses to “Troubling Earthquake Cluster Near Noris Geyser Basin In Yellowstone

  1. Goodbye from OKC if Yellowstone ever erupts. History Channel had an episode and I was amazed at the “kill zone” radius. OKC would be covered in ash up to 6 feet deep depending on prevailing winds. Everything within a 200 mile radius would be flattened. An estimated 20 million people would be lost!

  2. JimmyJ

    The “much bigger than thought” part apparently stems from displaced mantle material flowing and through and around a stalled, buoyant, horizontal portion of the subducting Farallon/Juan de Fuca plate. But also includes melt from the slab and superheated subducted ocean water. This magmatic plume is more broadly extended than an underlying stationary hotspot, which accounts for the dispersed areas of uplift and indicates sources for previous flood basalts of the region.

    “The Yellowstone Hotspot: Plume or Not?” Fouch, 2012 (PDF)

    “Farallon Slab Caused Ancient Eruptions” Enbysk 2013

    “Yellowstone Plumehead Meets Farallon Slab” Ihinger 2004 (Abstract only)

    Seems more dangerous this way too.

  3. Jim R

    This just in … some interesting images in this article. Don’t know anything about the site it’s on, I haven’t read it before today. Apparently the animals are running away from Yellowstone.

  4. emsnews

    That is the winter/summer migration. They stay in the valley in winter and head for the hills in summer.

  5. Jim R

    Ahh, that’s true. Before the West was full of Gringos, they used to migrate across several states from Montana to Texas..

  6. Jim R

    Or, they used to migrate between Saskatchewan and Texas.
    Before those names were associated with arbitrary lines drawn on a map.

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