Situation [culled from various sources]
At 11:32 this morning a 3.5 magnitude earthquake was reported 38 miles east southeast of West Yellowstone, Mont., in Yellowstone National Park — the latest in a swarm of earthquakes that has hit the area in the past week. The 3.5 tremor was followed this afternoon by a 3.2 magnitude quake at 12:40 and a 3.0 at 1:15. The swarm of tremors is the largest series of back-to-back quakes to hit the area in years, according to scientists. Today's quakes came on the heels of a series of tremors on New Year's Day, including a 3.0 at 6:30 p.m. and a 3.1 at 6:21 p.m. "The December 2008 earthquake sequence is the most intense in this area for some years," said the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory.
The observatory said the National Park Service in Yellowstone is being fully informed of the ongoing seismic activity by the University of Utah and the U.S. Geological Survey. The Wyoming Office of Homeland Security is reviewing Earthquake Response Plans and also monitoring the seismic activity that has been felt by Park Service employees and guests at the park.
Over the past two days, more than 37 temors have shaken the earth below Yellowstone Lake, causing scientists to speculate on the cause and field questions on whether the quakes were a prelude to an eruption of the park’s super volcano.
“It’s an energetic earthquake swarm,” said Mike Stickney, director of the earthquake studies office for the Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology. “I’m hearing reports that people in the park have been feeling some of them.”
Stickney said mild earthquakes swarms are relatively common for the Yellowstone region. This round of quakes, however, may be more vigorous than in recent years, though the cause is just as puzzling.
“There have been two other swarms this fall that come to mind,” said Stickney. “But they weren’t as many and they weren’t as large as what we’re seeing now.”