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News Release


January 7, 2009
Jake Lowenstern 650-329-5238 jlwnstrn@usgs.gov
Leslie Gordon 650-329-4006 lgordon@usgs.gov

Swarm of Earthquake Activity Over For Now at Yellowstone National Park

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The notable swarm of earthquakes that started December 26, 2008, beneath Yellowstone Lake in Yellowstone National Park has stopped for now and may have ceased entirely.  

This sequence of more than 500 seismic events was most intense on December 27, 2008. The sequence included sixteen events of magnitude 3 to 3.9 and approximately 70 of magnitude 2 to 3 (as of Sunday afternoon, Jan. 4, 2009). Visitors and National Park Service employees in the Yellowstone Lake area reported feeling the largest of these earthquakes.   

No damage was reported within Yellowstone National Park. The swarm was in an area of historic earthquake activity and was close to areas of hydrothermal activity on the lake floor. Similar large earthquake swarms have occurred in the past at Yellowstone, without triggering steam explosions or volcanic activity. 

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Is Something Brewing in Yellowstone?

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Listen to a podcast interview with Dr. Jacob Lowenstern, USGS Scientist-In-Charge at the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory, about how scientists monitor volcano and earthquake activity at: http://www.usgs.gov/corecast.

To view up-to-date volcano monitoring information at Yellowstone National Park, visit the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory Web site. Information on U.S. earthquake activity, including Yellowstone, can be viewed at the Earthquake Hazards Program: Latest Earthquakes in the USA - Last 7 Days Web site.  University of Utah news releases about the Yellowstone region can be accessed at the University of Utah's Earthquake Information Center Web site.

The Yellowstone Volcano Observatory (YVO) was created as a partnership among the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), Yellowstone National Park, and University of Utah to strengthen the long-term monitoring of volcanic and earthquake unrest in the Yellowstone National Park region. Yellowstone is the site of the largest and most diverse collection of natural thermal features in the world and the first National Park. YVO is one of the five USGS Volcano Observatories that monitor volcanoes within the United States for science and public safety.


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