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    • CommentTimeFeb 2nd 2010
    For those who said Yellowstone, hold on to your tickets...

    Hundreds of Quakes Are Rattling Yellowstone

    DENVER — In the last two weeks, more than 100 mostly tiny earthquakes a day, on average, have rattled a remote area of Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, putting scientists who monitor the park’s strange and volatile geology on alert.

    Researchers say that for now, the earthquake cluster, or swarm — the second-largest ever recorded in the park — is more a cause for curiosity than alarm. The quake zone, about 10 miles northwest of the Old Faithful geyser, has shown little indication, they said, of building toward a larger event, like a volcanic eruption of the type that last ravaged the Yellowstone region tens of thousands of years ago.
      CommentAuthorcity creed
    • CommentTimeFeb 2nd 2010
    If When I fly to Yellowstone, do I need to buy an extra seat for my twelve pound Bulldog sledge hammer?
    or can I just let it rest across my knees?
    baby ain't going in no cargo hold.
    • CommentAuthorRyan C
    • CommentTimeFeb 2nd 2010
    Seeing that, do we know if seismic activity is above average this year (last 12 months because Earth does not work on human cycles) ? Is there a way to tell that? I was in Yellowstone 3 years ago and Old Faithful was about as faithful as my ex wife. We sat there for an hour and a half then gave up.
    • CommentAuthorroadscum
    • CommentTimeFeb 2nd 2010
    I wonder, could the weather have anything to do with it? Climate change? There has been a lot of unusual weather over the last decade or so (someone clever get me some detail here please?) floods, glaciers melting, that sort of stuff. Could all of that have any significant effect on the mass, weight, whatever over localised areas of the Earth's crust? A bit less ice here, more water there? Might that set up new stresses and strains, leading to some seismic activity? The odd earthquake or two possibly? A bit of magma redistribution? A very big bang?
    • CommentAuthornoire
    • CommentTimeFeb 2nd 2010
    A Yellowstone eruption, eh? Blanketing nearly everything in poisonous ash. Sounds delightful! I'd rather have a zombie outbreak.
  1.  (7681.6)
    Yellowstone's always been pretty much on a volcanic hotbed. The Hot Springs there of various sorts change location -and tempature- frequently, which is also why they warn you not to try to swim in them, though several times every few years or so people and pets get boiled alive in 'em.

    100 tiny earthquakes a Day? that's amazing. But for now, I'd trust the experts, though I'd like to know what happened during the last earthquake swarm of similar type.

    Thankyou for sharing this, Apefist!
    • CommentAuthor256
    • CommentTimeFeb 2nd 2010
    @roadscum - I Am Not A Geologist, But... The inside of the earth (i.e. the 99.9999% that isn't the refreshingly cool rind we live on) is so very big and hot that it does almost exclusively whatever the fuck it wants. I've never heard good evidence of any external influence like weather that could affect frequency of earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, etc. apart from the fact that certain mountain ranges which were covered by ice sheets during the last ice age are rebounding - the mantle bending back after being squashed down by millions of tonnes of ice. This is associated with earthquakes, but rebounding is on the order of millimetres per year and has been going on for about ~20,000 years. Just to be clear, the sort of amounts of ice we're talking about here are like the polar ice sheet in Antarctica, not just the sort of glaciers you see on a skiing holiday (or melting in National Geographic).

    There's a persistent sort of factoid that earthquakes around the world have doubled/tripled/"increased significantly" since 1950/1975/"first launch of the Space Shuttle" but that's wholly unsubstantiated bullshit.
    • CommentAuthorroadscum
    • CommentTimeFeb 4th 2010
    @256 - i was thinking more along lines of the force required to pull the trigger.

    As far as i know (and that's not a great distance), the boundaries between the plates of the earth's crust, where they slide along each other or ride up and over themselves, are places where enormous stresses and strains build up. The movement isn't slow and gradual, the plates remain locked against each other until sufficient energy builds up to overcome the resistance and then BOOM, a sudden tiny movement and a very large release of energy.

    The masses involved in the melting and thinning of glaciers (i was thinking of Greenland and Antarctica, but yes, mountains too) might be relatively tiny, but the speed at which this has happened has been near instantaneous on a geological time scale.

    Something which may sound even sillier; does the mass of seawater above any particular point vary with changes in density? Both temperature and salinity have an effect there, causing bulges and depressions in the ocean surface.

    All relatively tiny forces, but might they all add up to something just enough to pull a trigger or two?