Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

When will the next large earthquake occur in Yellowstone?

Earthquakes cannot be predicted yet, but modern surveillance for earthquakes in Yellowstone conducted with seismographs (instruments that measure earthquake locations and magnitudes) and GPS - Global Positioning Systems (instruments that measure slow ground movements) help scientists understand the state of stress in the Earth's crust. Those stresses could trigger earthquakes as well as magma movement.

Yellowstone lies within a tectonically active region of the western United States. Large earthquakes have occurred there in the past, like the 1959 M7.3 Hebgen Lake earthquake just west of Yellowstone National Park, and they will occur again in the future, but it is impossible to know when. The University of Utah uses seismograph stations to carefully monitor earthquakes in the greater Yellowstone area and works with other Yellowstone Volcano Observatory partners to keep watch on the entire volcanic system.