Earthquakes More Likely Than Eruption in Yellowstone
Written by Andrew-Rossi on September 6, 2018
While concerns about a potential eruption of the supervolcano beneath Yellowstone park may garner the most alarming headlines, a more likely hazard in the coming decades is a large earthquake.
That’s according to the scientist in charge at the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory. Michael Poland says that the possibility of a magnitude 7 earthquake is an underappreciated hazard in the Yellowstone area.
An article in USA Today points out that on average, Yellowstone experiences 1,500 to 2,500 earthquakes a year – but most of them are so small they can’t be felt. However, large quakes have occurred there, most notably the 7.3 magnitude quake that killed 28 people in August of 1959. The earthquake triggered a landslide that buried a campground with more than 80 million tons of rock, blocking a river and forming what is now known as Earthquake Lake.
At that time, the quake was the second-largest in the lower 48 states in the 20th century, and remains the largest historical earthquake in the Intermountain West.