Scientists eye swarm of Yellowstone quakes

By | January 1, 2009

Scientists eye swarm of Yellowstone quakes

Were the more than 250 tremors a sign of something bigger to come?

CHEYENNE, Wyo. – Yellowstone National Park was jostled by a host of small earthquakes for a third straight day Monday, and scientists watched closely to see whether the more than 250 tremors were a sign of something bigger to come.

Swarms of small earthquakes happen frequently in Yellowstone, but it’s very unusual for so many earthquakes to happen over several days, said Robert Smith, a professor of geophysics at the University of Utah.

“They’re certainly not normal,” Smith said. “We haven’t had earthquakes in this energy or extent in many years.” … The strongest of dozens of tremors Monday was a magnitude 3.3 quake shortly after noon. All the quakes were centered beneath the northwest end of Yellowstone Lake.

A park ranger based at the north end of the lake reported feeling nine quakes over a 24-hour period over the weekend, according to park spokeswoman Stacy Vallie. No damage was reported. … Yellowstone is the caldera of a volcano that last erupted 70,000 years ago. … – msnbc

Check list:
Dust masks, goggles to protect eyes, canned foods, plenty of water, plastic wrap (for electronics), first aid kit and medications, radio with batteries, flashlights with batteries, wood for a fireplace or stove, blankets and warm clothing, cleaning supplies, cash (forget credit cards and ATM’s in this situation), cell phone.

Eruptions of the Yellowstone volcanic system have included the two largest volcanic eruptions in North America in the past few million years; the third largest was at Long Valley in California and produced the Bishop ash bed. The biggest of the Yellowstone eruptions occurred 2.1 million years ago, depositing the Huckleberry Ridge ash bed. These eruptions left behind huge volcanic depressions called “calderas” and spread volcanic ash over large parts of North America (see map). If another large caldera-forming eruption were to occur at Yellowstone, its effects would be worldwide. Thick ash deposits would bury vast areas of the United States, and injection of huge volumes of volcanic gases into the atmosphere could drastically affect global climate.  – solcomhouse

It is little known that lying underneath one of The United States largest and most picturesque National Parks – Yellowstone Park – is one of the largest “super volcanoes” in the world. – solcom

Volcanic ash (by itself) is not poisonous, but inhaling it may cause problems for people whose respiratory system is already compromised by disorders such as asthma or emphysema. The abrasive texture can cause irritation and scratching of the surface of the eyes. People who wear contact lenses should wear glasses during an ashfall, to prevent eye damage. Furthermore, the combination of volcanic ash with moisture in the lungs can create a substance akin to liquid cement. Therefore, people should take caution to filter the air they breathe with a damp cloth or a face mask when facing an ashfall. – wiki

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