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Hundreds of Quakes Are Rattling Yellowstone

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KIRK JOHNSON
NY Times
Monday, February 1st, 2010

DENVER — In the last two weeks, more than 100 mostly tiny earthquakes a day, on average, have rattled a remote area of Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, putting scientists who monitor the park’s strange and volatile geology on alert.

Researchers say that for now, the earthquake cluster, or swarm — the second-largest ever recorded in the park — is more a cause for curiosity than alarm. The quake zone, about 10 miles northwest of the Old Faithful geyser, has shown little indication, they said, of building toward a larger event, like a volcanic eruption of the type that last ravaged the Yellowstone region tens of thousands of years ago.

The area is far from any road or community, and the park is relatively empty in winter. Swarms of small quakes, including a significant swarm last year, are relatively common.

But at a time when the disastrous earthquake in Haiti on Jan. 12 has refocused global attention on the earth’s immense store of tectonic energy, scientists say that the Yellowstone swarm, if only because of its volume, bears close observation: as of Sunday, there had been 1,608 quakes since Jan. 17.

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This article was posted: Monday, February 1, 2010 at 5:11 am





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