Travel Tips

Yellowstone Hit By Swarm of Earthquakes

Yellowstone GeyserVisitors who have been to Yellowstone National Park recently may be feeling a little shaken rather than stirred, considering that the park has been hit by a series of small earthquakes over the last four days.

Yellowstone, which covers parts of Wyoming, Idaho and Montana, normally experiences between 1,000 and 2,000 tremors every year, but most of them are detectable only by sensitive seismic machinery.

However since last Friday the park has been hit by a total of 250 earthquakes, at least nine of which were magnitude 3.0 or greater on the Richter scale.

Learn more about Yellowstone in our National Parks Travel section.

The swarm of small quakes has led some scientists to wonder whether a bigger jolt is imminent. The last significant earthquake was a magnitude 7.5 tremor that killed 250 people in 1959, though there have been smaller ones since then. The recent series of quakes have not caused any damage or injuries to park visitors.

The quakes, as well as the geysers and hot springs that Yellowstone is famous for, are a result of intense geological activity occurring deep underground. It is the legacy of a giant volcano which erupted then collapsed more than 70,000 years ago, leaving a huge pool of molten lava between five and 10 miles below Yellowstone.

By Karen Elowitt for

Related links: Associated Press, Bloomberg

Pick up your copy of Don’t Go There! which lists Yellowstone as one of the places in the world that’s most overdue for a major earthquake.

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