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Yellowstone hit with rare 4.2-magnitude earthquake

Yellowstone hit with rare 4.2-magnitude earthquake
An image of Grand Prismatic Spring, a hot spring in Midway Geyser Basin in Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming on July 28, 2006. A magnitude 4.2 earthquake struck Yellowstone on Wednesday. File Photo by A.J. Sisco/UPI | License Photo

May 12 (UPI) -- A 4.2-magnitude earthquake struck Yellowstone National Park Wednesday morning, but there were no reports of damage or injuries.

University of Utah's Seismograph Stations said the earthquake was one of a handful of tremors stronger than 3.0 magnitude that have happened in the area, despite common seismic activities in the park.

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"The epicenter of the shock was located about 13 miles north of the east entrance of Yellowstone National Park," the agency said Thursday. " A total of five earthquakes of magnitude 3.0 or greater have occurred within 16 miles of the epicenter of this event since 1962.

"The largest of these events was a magnitude 4.2 on March 25, 2008, 20 miles northeast of Fishing Bridge, Wyo."

The U.S. Geological Survey said Yellowstone experiences an average of around 1,500 to 2,500 earthquakes per year but the majority are too small to be felt by humans. They are often detected by a sophisticated network of about 50 seismometers around the national park.

"Over 99% of those earthquakes are magnitude 2 or below and are not felt by anyone," the USGS said. "Earthquake swarms, earthquakes that cluster in time and space, account for about 50% of the total seismicity in Yellowstone and can occur anywhere in the Yellowstone region."

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The National Park Service said Yellowstone sits on top of a "supervolcano" that could release a devastating eruption but has only had three major eruptions in the last 2.1 million years.

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