Minor Earthquake Shakes Yellowstone Over Labor Day Weekend
Written by Andrew-Rossi on September 8, 2021
Yellowstone National Park got a bit jolted over the weekend, as several people felt a 3.0 magnitude earthquake along the Grand Loop Road last Saturday.
The U.S. Geological Survey recorded a 3.0 magnitude quake in Yellowstone National Park on the evening of Saturday, Sept. 4. Its epicenter was close to the Grand Loop Road, opposite Sulphur Mountain, and the Hayden Valley.
A seismograph located at Mammoth Hot Springs was the first to detect the quake. Nine people have contacted the U.S.G.S. saying they felt the Saturday evening shake.
The earthquake’s exact location was 41 kilometers (almost 25.5 miles) from Mammoth Hot Springs at a depth of 5.5 kilometers (3.4 miles) below the Earth’s surface.
Even by Wyoming standards, this isn’t a noteworthy earthquake – thousands of earthquakes of similar scale happen in Yellowstone every year.
The effects of any quake between magnitudes 2.5 to 5.4 can be felt but will only cause minor – if any – damage to buildings. Given its size and location, it’s unlikely the quake did any damage more significant than shaking a few pine needles loose.
According to the official Earthquake Magnitude Scale used to quantify earthquakes worldwide, this is a minor quake. Roughly 30,000 quakes of this size happen worldwide every year.
Furthermore, it’s unlikely this quake has any meaning in the park. Given that Yellowstone remains an active volcanic environment, its ever-changing nature produces dozens of similar-sized quakes.
A larger 3.9 earthquake was recorded in Kelly, WY, in Grand Teton National Park in February 2021. It occurred in such a remote area, only bears were able to feel it.
Still, a little ground shaking if not ground-breaking.
For more information on earthquakes in Yellowstone National Park, visit the United States Geological Survey website.