June 26, 2017 UPDATE: The University of Utah Seismograph Stations (UUSS) is monitoring an earthquake swarm which is currently active on the western edge of Yellowstone National Park. The swarm began on June 12th, 2017 and, as of 09:40 MDT on June 26th, 2017, is composed of 878 events with the largest magnitude of ML 4.4 (MW 4.4) (Figure 1). The swarm consists of one earthquake in the magnitude 4 range, 5 earthquakes in the magnitude 3 range, 68 earthquakes in the magnitude 2 range, 277 earthquakes in the magnitude 1 range, 508 earthquakes in the magnitude 0 range, and 19 earthquakes with magnitudes of less than zero. These events have depths from ~0.0 km to ~14.5 km, relative to sea level. At the time of this report, there were 121 felt reports for the M4.4 event that occurred on June 16, 2017 at 00:48:46.94 UTC (June 15, 2017 at 18:48:46.94 MDT). The M4.4 event has an oblique strike-slip moment tensor solution (Figures 1 & 2).
Figure 1. Location of the earthquakes that are part of the swarm as of June 26, 2017 at 09:40 MDT (red symbols).
Figure 2. Moment Tensor solution for the M4.4 event showing the fit between data (black) and synthetics (red dashed).
Earthquake swarms are common in Yellowstone and, on average, comprise about 50% of the total seismicity in the Yellowstone region.
UUSS will continue to monitor this swarm and will provide updates as necessary.
If you think you felt an earthquake, please fill out a felt report at: http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/dyfi/.
On April 22, 2017, a magnitude 3.8 earthquake occurred approximately 4 km northwest of Rangely, Colorado at 11:48 AM local time (05:48 PM UTC). There were 15 felt reports from the town of Rangely, CO. Two aftershocks, approximately 1 km NNE of the mainshock, were located by UUSS. The first aftershock (ML 2.6) occurred on April 27 at 03:11 AM local time (09:11 AM UTC), and the second aftershock (ML 3.3) occurred on May 3 at 01:42 AM local time (07:42 AM UTC). Based on the moment tensor solution for the mainshock this was a predominantly strike-slip earthquake on steeply dipping planes with the strike either northwest or northeast. From the distribution of the aftershock locations, we tentatively favor the northeast striking plane. Eighteen earthquakes within 20 km of the mainshock , with magnitude greater than 2.0, have been catalogued since 1962. The largest historical earthquake (ML 4.6, March 20, 1995) was located 2.3 km NE of the 2017 mainshock.
The Rangely area was one of the first focus sites for the study of fluid-induced earthquakes. Some of the first documented induced earthquakes occurred near Rangely in the 1960s and 1970s. During this time water-flood expansion was being used for secondary oil recovery. It was a good place to test the correlation between fluid injection and seismic events with a controlled experiment (Rayleigh et al., 1976), and the experiment showed a direct link. The seismicity during the experiment occurred on a ENE-WSW trending plane. This is rotated from the current seismicity, but the locations of the seismic events have also migrated through time. Water based fluid injection ended in 1983; since 1986 injection of CO2 has been used for secondary oil recovery.
Given the proximity of the recent seismicity to the Rangely Oil Field, it is fair to ask if the recent sequence is also induced. Analysis of this sequence is ongoing, but initial work includes the following results. An STA/LTA detector (detection threshold 3.5) was run across continuous waveforms from the two nearest stations (O20A and RDMU) for the time period April 22, 2017–May 04, 2017. Requiring simultaneous detections on both stations, in order to reduce the number of false detections, resulted in one new detected event that occurred on May 3. Using cross-correlation, we found similar waveforms (CC > 0.5) from the four events (mainshock, two aftershocks, and the new detected event) recorded at station O20A, suggesting possible common source properties.
The lack of close seismic stations makes it difficult to clearly associate these seismic events with oil production efforts.
On February 26, 2016, an earthquake of magnitude 4.0 struck about 31 km (19 miles) east of Jackson, WY at about 5:00 PM local time. The quake was reported felt by over 150 people in the Teton region. There were no reports of any damage. The earthquake occurred in the Gros Ventre range east of Grand Teton National Park near the location of previous seismic activity. In 2010 there was a swarm of earthquakes, including a M4.8 earthquake, ~11 km (7 miles) north of this event.
The Teton region is part of the Intermountain Seismic Belt, a region of relatively high seismicity in the Intermountain West that extends from northern Arizona to western Montana. Most of the seismicity in the Teton region occurs east of Grand Teton National Park in the Gros Ventre range while there is very little earthquake activity on the Teton Fault.
News accounts for this event can be found at the following links:
Jackson Hole News & Guide, February 26, 2016
Casper Star Tribune, February 26, 2016
Jackson Hole News & Guide, February 27, 2016
Smith, R.B., 2015, Response, Smith receives 2015 Paul G. Silver Award for Outstanding Scientific Service, Eos, 96, doi:10.1029/2015EO035951, 28 September 2015.