Recent Earthquakes in the Yellowstone Region, July 2-15, 2020

In addition to monitoring the seismicity in the Utah region, the UUSS is also responsible for the operation and analysis of the Yellowstone Seismic Network. Here is our Yellowstone biweekly update:

Map of Recent Earthquakes in Yellowstone July 2-15

Station YNM, located near the Yellowstone Norris Museum, was recently repaired and is now streaming live webicorder images that can be found here:
www.quake.utah.edu/station/heli/YNM.png

Upper Geyser Basin Seismic Imaging Experiment

In the Fall of 2015 and 2016, The University of Utah, in collaboration with the National Park Service and the University of Texas at El Paso installed dense seismic arrays centered on Old Faithful Geyser in Yellowstone National Park.  The goals of this project are to image the shallow velocity structure beneath and around Old Faithful in order to identify areas of shallow, active hydrothermal activity as well as to learn more about these hydrothermal systems, in particular Old Faithful.  The Upper Geyser Basin (Figure 1), where Old Faithful is located, has one of the highest concentrations of hydrothermal features in the world.

Figure 1: The Upper Geyser Basin near Old Faithful (red star) with the main roads in white.
Figure 1: The Upper Geyser Basin near Old Faithful (red star) with the main roads in white.

In November of 2015, 133 seismometers were deployed for 2 weeks (Figure 2) collecting continuous passive seismic data.  The average station spacing was ~50 meters and the aperture of the entire array was ~1 km.

Figure 2: The 2015 deployment of 133 seismometers (yellow circles) around Old Faithful (red star).
Figure 2: The 2015 deployment of 133 seismometers (yellow circles) around Old Faithful (red star).

In November of 2016, in order to achieve a higher station density, a different approach was taken in that smaller dense arrays with ~20 meter spacing were deployed for 24-48 hours and then were moved to different locations around Old Faithful for another 24-48 hours until the area of interest was covered (Figure 3).  In addition, while each individual array was in, we did active seismic sources using a sledgehammer throughout the array.  A subset of instruments was deployed in the same location throughout the experiment in order to tie all the individual sub-arrays together.

Figure 3: The 2016 deployment of 519 individual locations (circles).  The stations are color-coded by how long they were deployed.  Green circles represent seismometers that were deployed in the same location for the entire time-period of the experiment.  Each individual array (labeled 1-7) were deployed for 24-48 hours.
Figure 3: The 2016 deployment of 519 individual locations (circles). The stations are color-coded by how long they were deployed. Green circles represent seismometers that were deployed in the same location for the entire time-period of the experiment. Each individual array (labeled 1-7) were deployed for 24-48 hours.

Data are being analyzed to image the shallow subsurface beneath the Upper Geyser Basin near Old Faithful.

M 3.5 near southern boundary of Yellowstone National Park

University of Utah Seismograph Stations

Released: August 15, 2019 02:30 PM MDT


The University of Utah Seismograph Stations reports that a minor earthquake of magnitude 3.5 occurred at 01:46 PM on August 15, 2019 (MDT).  The epicenter was located on the southern boundary of Yellowstone National Park,  22.2 miles southeast of West Thumb Geyser Basin and 48.7 miles northeast of Jackson, WY.  Earthquake activity in this location is not unusual.  A total of 9 earthquakes of magnitude 3.0 or greater have occurred since 1962 within 16 miles of todays earthquake.  The largest of these events was a magnitude 4.3 on August 21, 2003 located 22.5 miles south-southeast of West Thumb Geyser Basin and 44.2 miles north-northeast of Jackson, WY.

There have been no felt reports for todays earthquake at the time of this writing.  Anyone who felt the earthquake is encouraged to fill out a survey form either on the University of Utah Seismograph Stations website: www.quake.utah.edu or the U.S. Geological Surveys website: earthquake.usgs.gov.

Earthquake Summary:
Date (UTC): August 15, 2019 Time (UTC): 19:46
Date (local): August 15, 2019 Time (local): 01:46 PM MDT
Latudute: 44 7.66’ N
Longitude: 110 22.73’ W
Preferred magnitude: 3.5 Ml

Ongoing Yellowstone Earthquake Swarm North of West Yellowstone, MT.

August 03, 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 13:00 MDT on August 2nd, 2017, is composed of 1,562 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, 8 earthquakes in the magnitude 3 range, 134 earthquakes in the magnitude 2 range, 505 earthquakes in the magnitude 1 range, 879 earthquakes in the magnitude 0 range, and 35 earthquakes with magnitudes of less than zero.  These events have depths from ~0.0 km to ~14.0 km, relative to sea level.  At the time of this report, there were 125 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).  In addition, four other earthquakes in the swarm have been reported felt.

 

 

Figure 1. Location of the earthquakes that are part of the swarm as of August 3, 2017 at 01:00 PM MDT (red symbols).

 

Figure 2. Moment Tensor solution for the M4.4 event showing the fit between data (black) and synthetics (red dashed).

Moment Tensor for M 4.5

Figure 3. Animation of the June 2017 Yellowstone earthquake swarm.  Earthquakes appear as red circles as they happen, then transition to blue.  After they have occurred, they appear as black circles.  The size of the circles are proportional to the earthquakes magnitude.

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/.

Yellowstone swarm continues with M 3.6 felt near West Yellowstone, MT

Released: July 18, 2017 03:15 PM MDT

The University of Utah Seismograph Stations reports that a minor
earthquake of magnitude 3.6 occurred at 02:31 PM on July 18, 2017
(MDT). The epicenter of the shock was located 9.3 mi N of W.
Yellowstone, MT. This earthquake is part of an ongoing sequence
of earthquakes that began on June 12, 2017 and included a
a magnitude 4.4 event on June 15, 2017, 9.0 mi NNE of W.
Yellowstone, MT. Today’s M 3.6 earthquake was reported felt in
Yellowstone National Park and in West Yellowstone, MT. It was
followed by numerous smaller earthquakes, the largest of which
had magnitudes of 2.8 and 2.9. The total number of located
earthquakes in the current sequence has now exceeded 1200.

Anyone who felt the earthquake is encouraged to fill out a survey form
either on the Seismograph Stations website: www.quake.utah.edu or the
US Geological Survey website: earthquake.usgs.gov.

Earthquake Summary:

Date (UTC): July 18, 2017 Time (UTC): 20:31

Date (local): July 18, 2017 Time (local): 02:31 PM MDT

Latitude: 44 47.25′ N

Longitude: 111 2.27′ W

Preferred magnitude: 3.60 Ml

Magnitude 4.5 near West Yellowstone, MT

PRESS RELEASE

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: www.quake.utah.edu or the US Geological Survey website: earthquake.usgs.gov.

Earthquake Summary:

Date (UTC): June 16, 2017

Time (UTC): 00:48 Date (local): June 15, 2017

Time (local): 06:48 PM MDT

Latitude: 44 46.48′ N

Longitude: 111 2.74′ W

Preferred magnitude: 4.50 Ml