The volatile Yellowstone Supervolcano was rattled by a swarm of 91 earthquakes over just 24 hours this week. To put this in context, the Yellowstone volcano was shaken by a total of 82 earthquakes over the entire month of August. The United States Geological Survey (USGS) confirmed the swarm of quakes – but claimed most of them had been induced on purpose by scientists themselves.
In an alarming twist, Michael Poland, the scientist-in-charge at the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory, declared that a ‘seismic vibrator’ had been used to trigger the quakes.
The so-called “vibroseis,” or ‘seismic vibrator,’ is a truck-mounted device that is capable of injecting low-frequency vibrations deep into the earth.
Dr Poland confirmed that the USGS had deployed this machine to induce a swarm of quakes in the area as part of an experiment.
The test, carried out by the University of Utah and University of New Mexico, was intended to create images of the Yellowstone’s magma chamber — the so-called “supervolcano”.
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The amount of earthquakes in the volatile region, which is understood to be overdue for an eruption, sparked concern among observers.
One Yellowstone enthusiast, who runs the YouTube channel MrMBB333, said that the earthquakes had rattled the area “for hours”.
He said: “Some of these earthquakes were just 0.7 miles deep, so it is very close to the surface.
“There is loads of activity across the Yellowstone. I haven’t seen the Yellowstone Supervolcano this busy in quite some time.”
The YouTuber noted that five earthquakes had taken place in less than thirty minutes at one point, with a 2.9-magnitude quake among them.
One concerned user took to Twitter to respond to the USGS experiment claim: “2020 its just not the year to be messing about with things like Yellowstones magma chamber.”
Another added: “Is tempting the Yellowstone caldera something we really should be doing in 2020?”
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Others simply remarked: “Don’t mess with mother nature.”
Yellowstone is one of the most seismically active regions in the US.
Dr Poland said: “This cluster of quakes is on the large side in terms of number and magnitude, but nowhere near the largest.”
The park usually experiences an average of 1,500 to 2,000 earthquakes per year, according to the USGS.
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