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article imageScientists puzzled over Yellowstone earthquake swarm

By Kesavan Unnikrishnan     Jan 1, 2009 in Science
More than 250 small earthquakes have rattled Yellowstone national park in the past few days. Scientists are analyzing the possibility of a larger quake.
Yellowstone national park sits over a geographically active area which boasts more than 75 percent of world's geysers. Small earthquakes are common in the area. More than 1,000 earthquakes hit the park every year. But a swarm of harmonic earthquakes that is rattling the area since Dec 26 has raised alarms among the scientific community.
Yellowstone had it's last Super volcanic eruption about 640,000 years ago. According to scientists, Yellowstone erupts every 600,000 years or so. The last eruption had left half of the United states under a blanket of ash.
What worries scientists about the the recent swarm of quakes is that a large number of harmonic tremors have occurred over a small area. Such quakes indicates magma movement beneath the surface which points to intense volcanic activity.
Robert Smith, a professor of geophysics at the University of Utah, which operates seismic stations around the park said.
They're certainly not normal. We haven't had earthquakes of this energy or extent in many years. This is an active volcanic and tectonic area, and these are the kinds of things we have to pay attention to. We might be seeing something precursory.
A magnitude 7.5 earthquake had hit the park in 1959 which killed 28 people.
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