A MAGNITUDE 4.8 earthquake has shaken Yellowstone National Park and rattled observers of one of the world’s deadliest super volcanoes.
The quake — the most powerful in 30 years — struck near the Wyoming border with Montana yesterday, almost in the centre of the United States’ most famous national park.
Late last year a new study into the enormous super volcano found the underground magma chamber to be 2.5 times larger than previously thought — a cavern spanning some 90km by 30km and capable of holding 300 billion cubic kilometres of molten rock.
If the sleeping giant were to wake, the outflow of lava, ash and smoke would devastate the United States and affect the entire world.
NBC News this morning reported a spokesman for the USGS Yellowstone Volcano Observatory as saying the super volcano’s thin crust moved near the Norris Geyser Basin. There was no significant damage from the quake, he added.
The quake is not expected to initiate any volcanic activity.
Geologists have been closely watching the enormous Yellowstone Plateau in recent years with increasing evidence the enormous underground magma chamber is gradually filling with molten rock.
In recent times the national park has been lifted an average of 7cm a year. This is three times more than when measurements began in 1923.
Earthquakes in the area are not uncommon. In fact, the region records between 1 and 20 shakes on a daily basis. They rarely reach 3.0 on the intensity scale, however.
Four aftershocks kept the Park rocking overnight, ranging from 3.1 to 3.3 in strength.