Across the internet, people are always talking about the massive caldera beneath Yellowstone and hypothesizing about when it is going to blow up and take more than half the continent with it. And recently, even more articles have been focused on the seismic activity, like this one
claiming that Yellowstone is "shaking like crazy."
Part of the speculation about increased activity comes from two earthquakes
about 32 miles west of the park's boundary last week: one was magnitude 4.3
on June 13 followed by a 4.0 on June 14. In February, Jackson was hit
with a 4.0 as well. In the last five years there was only one other
earthquake within roughly the same distance with a magnitude of 4.0 or
So, we spoke with the Wyoming Geological Survey to find out if activity has
gotten crazier. The answer is: no, no it hasn't. If anything, Yellowstone's
significant seismic activity decreased significantly over the last 60 years.
Wyoming Geological Survey's Division Manager of Groundwater and Geologic
Hazards and Mapping, Seth Wittke, says that those quakes were likely caused
by geologic features unrelated to the Yellowstone caldera. Wittke said
anything outside of a 10-mile radius from the park boundary is likely
In 1959, a 7.3-7.5 magnitude earthquake hit Hebgen Lake in Yellowstone,
which spurred significant aftershocks for the next few decades. In the
1960s, Wittke said there were 32 earthquakes that measured over 4.0 within
the 10-mile radius of the park. There 37 more in the 1970s, but then it
dropped to 12 in the 1980s. And in the last 26 years, there have only been
five over 4.0.
Yellowstone National Park did not return requests for comment.
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