Volcanic Activity Report

Earth Changes News


The alert-level system for all volcanoes monitored by the USGS was changed on 1 October from a numerical system to a descriptive system. In the new system, alert-level Normal indicates background conditions and is equivalent to aviation color-code Green. The previous alert levels of Volcanic Unrest (Alert Level 1), Volcano Advisory (Alert Level 2) and Volcano Alert (Alert Level 3) have changed to "Advisory," "Watch," and "Warning," respectively. There is a subtle change to the aviation color-code definitions in that there is no longer an ash-plume threshold given for either Orange or Red. Watch; Aviation color code ORANGE." The alert-level "Watch" is used for two different situations: (1) heightened or escalating unrest indicating a higher potential that an eruption is likely, but still not certain; or (2) an eruption that poses only limited hazard.


GREEN volcano is dormant; normal seismicity and fumarolic activity occurring = Normal

YELLOW volcano is restless; eruption may occur

ORANGE volcano is in eruption or eruption may occur at any time

RED significant eruption is occurring or explosive eruption expected at any time



Volcano News Headlines

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Weekly Activity Report - Smithsonian USGS

Volcano News

Earth's Active Volcanos

Volcano WebCams of the World

Southwest Volcano Center News

Global Volcano Program

More About Volcanos

Volcanoes and the Current Alert Status

Restless Volcanoes Status Report

List of Current Volcano Alert Status

Smithsonain Weekly Activity Report

RSS Feed: Breaking News

HEWS - Humanitarian Early Warning Service


Visit our Yellowstone Caldera page for indepth information. See more info towards the bottom of this page.


Kamchatkan and Northern Kuriles Volcanic Activity

Kamchatka Volcanic Eruption Response Team

Volcanoes of the Kurile Islands Activity


"Information About Dealing with Disasters" - Click the volcano tab!

Preparing for Natural Disasters and Weather Emergencies

Natural disasters are the effect of natural hazards, such as avalanches, blizzards, floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, and wildfires. These unexpected events lead to financial, environmental loss, as well as loss of animal and human life. Natural disasters can occur due to an individual's lack of preparedness, which leaves them vulnerable to uncontrollable forces. A natural hazard distinctly means a natural phenomena that has not resulted in significant damage or loss of life. Some key points of preparedness involve securing one's home, developing an evacuation plan, and storing enough food and water to survive long periods of tumultuous activity.


U.S. Geological Survey
Saturday, July 22, 2017, 12:45 PM AKDT (Saturday, July 22, 2017, 20:45 UTC)

52°4'35" N 176°6'39" W, Summit Elevation 5709 ft (1740 m)
Current Volcano Alert Level: NORMAL
Current Aviation Color Code: GREEN

An increase in seismic activity was detected at Great Sitkin starting with seismic tremor on July 21 16:17 AKDT (July 22 00:17 UTC). After about an hour, tremor transitioned to discrete earthquakes. Small earthquakes continue at present at a much decreased rate of several per hour. No anomalous airwaves were detected at the Adak infrasound array, and nothing was observed in satellite data above weather cloud tops, which were at about 10,000 ft asl. AVO continues to monitor Great Sitkin with a local seismic network, distal infrasound networks and with satellite observations.

Great Sitkin Volcano is a basaltic andesite volcano that occupies most of the northern half of Great Sitkin Island, a member of the Andreanof Islands group in the central Aleutian Islands. It is located 43 km (26 miles) east of the community of Adak. The volcano is a composite structure consisting of an older decapitated volcano and a younger parasitic cone with a 2-3 km diameter summit crater. A steep-sided dome occupies the center of the crater. Great Sitkin erupted at least three times in the 20th century, most recently in 1974 when a lava dome formed in the crater accompanied by at least one ash cloud that reached ~10,000 ft. above sea level. A poorly documented eruption occurred in 1945, also producing a lava dome that was partially destroyed in the 1974 eruption. Within the past 280 years a large explosive eruption produced pyroclastic flows that partially filled the Glacier Creek valley on the southwest flank.


Iceland volcanic eruption mystery ­ ground sinking below lava build-up by a foot a day - Jan. 6, 2015 SKAFTAFELL, Iceland - Just north of here, on the far side of the impenetrable Vatnajokull ice sheet, lava is spewing from a crack in the earth on the flanks of Bardarbunga, one of Iceland's largest volcanoes. By volcanologists' standards, it is a peaceful eruption, the lava merely spreading across the landscape as gases bubble out of it. For now, those gases - especially sulfur dioxide, which can cause respiratory and other problems - are the main concern, prompting health advisories in the capital, Reykjavik, 150 miles to the west, and elsewhere around the country. But sometime soon, the top of Bardarbunga, which lies under as much as half a mile of ice, may erupt explosively. That could send plumes of gritty ash into the sky that could shut down air travel across Europe because of the damage the ash can do to jet engines. And it could unleash a torrent of glacial meltwater that could wipe out the only road connecting southern Iceland to the capital. All of that could happen. Then again, it may not.

Such are the mysteries of volcanoes that more than four months after Bardarbunga began erupting, scientists here are still debating what will happen next. The truth is, no one really knows. Volcanic eruptions are among the Earth's most cataclysmic events, and understanding how and when they happen can be crucial to saving lives and reducing damage to infrastructure and other property. Scientists have several powerful tools to help, but in the end, they are often reduced to analyzing possibilities within possibilities, chains of potential events that could unfold in multiple ways. "Volcanoes are really difficult to predict because they are so nonlinear," said Pall Einarsson, a geophysicist at the University of Iceland. "They can suddenly decide to do something very different." For now, the eruption remains what volcanologists call an effusive one - the lava, consisting primarily of molten basalt, is thin enough that the gases bubble out with little explosive force.

And the amounts of sulfur dioxide and other gases, while a concern locally, are nowhere near the amounts produced by an eruption at a fissure called Laki in the 1780s. In that event, the gases poisoned livestock across Iceland, leading to a famine that killed about a quarter of the country's population and had other effects in Europe and elsewhere. One possibility is that the current eruption will eventually peter out as the source of magma is depleted. "Maybe the most likely scenario is something similar to what we've been seeing," Sigmundsson said. But that could take a while; although the volume of lava has declined, it has done so only very gradually, he said, suggesting the eruption could continue for many months. But there are many other possibilities. Bardarbunga sits at the heart of a complex system of volcanoes and "has a history of affecting its neighbors," Einarsson said. Were the dike to continue moving to the northeast, he said, it could set off an eruption at the nearby Askja volcano, although that seems less likely.

Of greater concern is what is happening at Bardarbunga's caldera, the wide, deep valley at the top of the mountain that is filled with hardened magma from past eruptive activity. Earthquake data and GPS measurements show that this hardened magma, which acts like a plug, is sinking, probably as the hot magma below it escapes through the fissure to the north. The subsidence is astonishingly rapid, about a foot a day, and the question is how much more of this the plug can take before it breaks up. "As of now, the system seems to be relatively stable," Einarsson said. "But it's almost certain that this can't last very long, and that's what people are worried about. Because this plug is bound to disintegrate as it moves so much." If the plug cracks apart, the hot magma below would have a new, easier path to the surface - straight up - where it would combine with ice to cause a steam-magma explosion. Such an eruption could create a large plume of ash that could disrupt air travel, as the eruption at another Icelandic volcano did in 2010. Its effects on the surrounding region could be catastrophic as well, with glacial meltwater collecting in the caldera until it overflows, causing a vast flood.

That has happened countless times in Iceland's geological history, and it is what created the eerie skeidararsandur, the vast delta west of Skaftafell that resembles the surface of the moon, as floodwaters brought huge quantities of black volcanic sand down from the mountains. The skeidararsandur could take the brunt of a flood again, although it would depend on precisely where the eruption occurred. A short distance this way or that, and the floodwaters might flow to the north, or even to the west - an especially troubling possibility given that several hydroelectric dams responsible for much of Iceland's electricity could be damaged or destroyed. "One can never be absolutely certain about predicting," Einarsson said. "So we have to line up all the possible scenarios and stretch our imaginations to figure out what could possibly happen." ­Alaskan Dispatch

Updated information - Icelandic Meterorological Office

Notes from surveillance flight with LGH to the eruption site


Map of the new lava, made 21 Jan. During the last few weeks the lava has first and foremost thickened, without extending much further. Numbers indicate the thickness (m) which is also colour coded. The volume is estimated 1.4 cubic kilometers (uncertainty 15%). Enlarge. Institute of Earth Sciences. From a report of the Scientific Advisory Board, 30 January 2015.

Bardarbunga Volcano - Iceland

The rifting event

When the eruption in Holuhraun ends, it is just going to mean that the Holuhraun eruption has ended. The rifting is going to continue for a long time after the eruption has ended. The models that I work with (in my head, I don't got a supercomputer) suggest that it might migrate south along Bár?arbunga volcano fissure swarm. This is difficult to predict for sure, but there are data (cracks in the ground forming over the past few years) suggesting that a large area is going to rift. This rifting is going to start eruptions, both short and long along this area. Part of this eruption risk area is under thick glacier (Vatnajökull glacier). That is going to start glacier flood that area going to damage everything in there path.

What is also impossible to know for sure is how long this rifting is going to last. Past episodes suggest that active periods like this normally last from 5 ­ 10 years. Sometimes shorter and sometimes longer, depending on how long it has been since last rifting episode took place. Last rifting episode in this area might been ~100 years ago in part of the system. I don't know this for sure, but this is what the data suggests.

More Iceland info by Jón Frímann

Check here for more from the Scientific Advisory Board & current map

Webcam of Bardarbunga: The eruption is becoming visible on webcam images showing a plume of gas, steam and dilute ash rising from what could be fissures on the ice cap.

S;mithsonian Institution Info on Bardarbunga

Young Volcanos in California & Nevada

Very High Threat Potential:

Lassen, Long Valley, Mount Shasta

High Threat Potential:

Clear Lake, Medicine Lake, Mon-Inyo Chain, Salton Buttes

Volcano Activity Summary for week of 5 July to 11 July, 2017:

Currently erupting:





Fox Islands (USA)





Rincon de la Vieja

Costa Rica



Central Kamchatka (Russia)



Kyushu (Japan)



Central Kamchatka (Russia)



Chuginadak Island (USA)



Central Chile-Argentina border



Halmahera (Indonesia)



Paramushir Island (Russia)



Eastern Kamchatka (Russia)



Hawaiian Islands (USA)



Central Kamchatka (Russia)






Costa Rica





Santa Maria







Costa Rica




Sierra Nevada Earthquake Swarm

Long Valley Caldera


Earthquakes in the Mammoth Lakes / Long Valley, CA area have reached 471 quakes in the range of 0.1 + in the last 7 days (July 6 – 13, 2017)


Long Valley Caldera rattled by more than 1059 earthquakes in latest seismic swarm

The USGS California Volcanic Observatory states that these quakes do not seem to be the result of magma movement below the surface, so there's no concern that the swarm is a precursor to a volcanic eruption.The quakes are occurring beneath the Long Valley Caldera, about a 20-mile wide depression in the earth next to Mammoth Mountain. The USGS reports that this is the latest of several earthquake swarms this year under the caldera, which is slowly rising. Despite the several felt earthquakes, this is still rather modest activity compared with the much more energetic swarms occurring in the 1980s and 1990s. We do not see any evidence for anomalous ground deformation associated with the swarm at this time. Part of the Long Valley Caldera, known as the "resurgent dome," has been uplifting at a rate of about an inch per year since late 2011, and this remains unchanged. Caldera uplift has occurred sporadically for the last few decades. The uplift rate observed since 2011 is small compared to rates observed in the 1980s and 1990s.

Current Alerts:

AVO/USGS Volcanic Activity Notice




19°25'16" N 155°17'13" W, Summit Elevation 4091 ft (1247 m)

Current Volcano Alert Level: WATCH

Current Aviation Color Code: ORANGE

Activity Summary: K?lauea Volcano continues to erupt at its summit and from the Pu?u ???? vent on its East Rift Zone. The episode 61g lava flow from Pu?u ???? continues to enter the ocean at Kamokuna. Surface flows are active above the pali, as well as on the coastal plain. These flows pose no threat to nearby communities. The summit lava lake level has dropped over the past day, and was about 43 m (141 ft) below the Overlook crater rim when measured this morning. There have been no significant changes in seismicity levels across the volcano. Deflationary tilt continues at the summit.



19°28'30" N 155°36'29" W, Summit Elevation 13681 ft (4170 m)

Current Volcano Alert Level: ADVISORY

Current Aviation Color Code: YELLOW

Activity Summary: Mauna Loa Volcano is not erupting. Rates of deformation and seismicity have not changed significantly in the past week, and continue to be above long-term background levels.

Small-magnitude earthquakes continue to occur beneath the volcano. During the past week, these were primarily in the south caldera and upper Southwest Rift, at depths less than 5 km (3 miles).
Global Positioning System (GPS) measurements continue to show deformation related to inflation of a magma reservoir beneath the summit caldera and upper Southwest Rift Zone.
No significant changes in volcanic gas emissions, sulfur dioxide or carbon dioxide were measured.

Background: Re-inflation of Mauna Loa's shallow magma storage reservoirs started immediately following the most recent eruption in 1984, then turned to deflation for almost a decade. In mid-2002, inflation started again, just after a brief swarm of deep long-period (LP) earthquakes. A more intense swarm of several thousand deep Long Period (LP) earthquakes occurred in late 2004, immediately preceding a dramatic increase in inflation rate. Inflation slowed again in 2006, ceased altogether in late 2009, and resumed slowly in late 2010.

Rising gradually to more than 4 km above sea level, Mauna Loa is the largest active volcano on our planet and is among Earth's most active volcanoes, having erupted 33 times since its first well-documented historical eruption in 1843. Its most recent eruption was in 1984. Fore more information on Mauna Loa, see the USGS Fact sheet available at Its long submarine flanks descend to the sea floor an additional 5 km, and the sea floor in turn is depressed by Mauna Loa's great mass another 8 km. This makes the volcano's summit about 17 km (56,000 ft) above its base! The enormous volcano covers half of the Island of Hawai`i and by itself amounts to about 85 percent of all the other Hawaiian Islands combined.

ECUADOR - Reventador volcano

July 7th, 2017

During 28 June-4 July IG reported a high level of seismic activity including explosions, long-period earthquakes, harmonic tremor, and signals indicating emissions at Reventador. During 28 June-1 July plumes of water vapor and ash rose as high as 500 m above the crater rim. A 2-km-long lava flow continued to slowly advance down the NW flank. Incandescent blocks from the crater rolled at most 300 m down the W, SW, and S flanks.

MEXICO - Popocatepetl volcano

July 7th, 2017

Each day during 28 June-4 July CENAPRED reported 67-240 and steam and gas emissions from Popocatepetl, some of which contained minor amounts of ash. Explosions were detected on 28 June (4), on 30 June (1), on 2 July (5), and on 3 July (1), though cloudy conditions prevented visual confirmation of possible ash, gas, and steam plumes. Minor ashfall on 2 July was noted in Ozumba, Amecameca, Tlalmanalco, Chalco, Ayapango, Tenango del Aire, and San Pedro Nexapa. An explosion at 1145 on 4 July generated an ash plume that rose 2.5 km above the crater rim and drifted W. The Alert Level remained at Yellow, Phase Two..

GUATEMALA - Fuego volcano

July 11th, 2017


INSIVUMEH reported that on the evening of July 10th, the Strombolian activity of the Fuego increased, feeding lava flows, one in the Las Lajas barrancas, 1900 m long, and others in barranca Seca and Santa Teresa, 1500 m long. A plume rising to 5,000 m asl then moves westward for 20 km; The ash falls affect Morelia, Panimache, Santa Sofia, El Porvenir and Sangre de Cristo



ICELAND - Deep earthquakes in KATLA volcano yesterday (09-July-2017)        

Yesterday (09-July-2017) there was a minor earthquake swarm in Katla volcano. Deepest of the earthquakes in this swarm had the depth of 28,9 km, the most shallow of the earthquakes that happened had a depth of 21,1 km. At this depth it is only magma that can create earthquakes..




See Bottom of Page for Map of Volcano Locations



52°49'20" N 169°56'42" W, Summit Elevation 5676 ft (1730 m)
Current Volcano Alert Level: WATCH
Current Aviation Color Code: ORANGE

Nothing significant observed in clear satellite images over the past day. No seismicity or infrasound has been detected, but there has been an outage of data collected at the volcano for the past 12 hours. Web camera views were foggy when available.


53°55'38" N 168°2'4" W, Summit Elevation 492 ft (150 m)
Current Volcano Alert Level: WATCH
Current Aviation Color Code: ORANGE

Weakly elevated surface temperatures were observed in clear satellite images over the past day. No activity was detected in seismic, infrasound, or lightning data.

Bogoslof volcano remains at a heightened state of unrest and in an unpredictable condition. Activity can escalate quickly with additional explosions producing high-altitude (>15,000 ft) volcanic clouds with little to no detectable precursory activity. Some previous explosions have been preceded by an increase in earthquake activity that allowed for short-term forecasts of imminent significant explosive activity. Although we are able to detect energetic explosive activity in real-time, there is typically a lag of tens of minutes until we can characterize the magnitude of the event and the altitude of the volcanic cloud. It is possible for low-level unrest, including explosive activity, to occur that we are unable to detect with existing data sources. Such low-level periods of unrest and possible explosions could pose a hazard in the immediate vicinity of the volcano. A Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) is in effect over the volcano at the present time. Please see for the status of the TFR.



55°25'2" N 161°53'37" W, Summit Elevation 8261 ft (2518 m)
Current Volcano Alert Level: ADVISORY
Current Aviation Color Code: YELLOW

Elevated surface temperatures were observed in at least one satellite image over the past 24 hours. No unusual activity has been detected in seismic or infrasound data. Web camera views were sometimes clear but no steaming was observed.

The level of unrest at Pavlof can change quickly and the progression to eruptive activity can occur with little or no warning. We continue to monitor Pavlof closely and will provide any new information about the status of the volcano when or if it becomes available.

Island Park Caldera - The volcanic feature commonly called the Island Park Caldera in the state of Idaho, USA, is actually two calderas, one nested inside the other. The Island Park Caldera is the older and much larger caldera, with approximate dimensions of 58 miles (93 km) by 40 miles (64 km). Its ashfall is the source of the Huckleberry Ridge Tuff that is found from southern California to the Mississippi River near St. Louis. This supereruption (2500 cubic kilometers) occurred 2.1 million years BP and produced 2,500 times as much ash as the 1980 Mount St. Helens eruption. The caldera clearly visible today is the later Henry's Fork Caldera that is the source of the Mesa Falls Tuff. It was formed in an eruption of more than 280 cubic kilometers 1.3 million years BP. The two nested calderas share the same rim on their western sides, but the older Island Park Caldera is much larger and more oval and extends well into Yellowstone Park. The Island Park Caldera is sometimes referred to as the First Phase Yellowstone Caldera or the Huckleberry Ridge Caldera. To the southwest of the caldera lies the Snake River Plain, which was formed by a succession of older calderas marking the path of the Yellowstone hotspot. The Plain is a depression, sinking under the weight of the volcanic rocks that formed it, through which the Snake River winds. Other observable volcanic features in the Plain include: the Menan Buttes, the Big Southern Butte, Craters of the Moon, the Wapi Lava Field and Hell's Half Acre. These calderas are in an area called Island Park that is known for beautiful forests, large springs, clear streams, waterfalls, lakes, ponds, marshes, wildlife, and fishing. Harriman State Park is located in the caldera. Snowmobiling, fishing, and Nordic skiing, and wildlife viewing are popular activities in the area. The peaks of the Grand Tetons to the southeast are visible from places in the caldera.

Last activity: December 8, 2014 at 4:30PM.

Yellowstone Caldera - The Yellowstone Caldera is the volcanic caldera in Yellowstone National Park in the United States. The caldera is located in the northwest corner of Wyoming, in which the vast majority of the park is contained. The major features of the caldera measure about 55 kilometers (34 mi) by 72 kilometers (45 mi) as determined by geological field work conducted by Bob Christiansen of the United States Geological Survey in the 1960s and 1970s. After a BBC television science program coined the term supervolcano in 2000, it has often been referred to as the Yellowstone Supervolcano. Yellowstone, like Hawaii, is believed to lie on top of an area called a hotspot where light, hot, molten mantle rock rises towards the surface. While the Yellowstone hotspot is now under the Yellowstone Plateau, it previously helped create the eastern Snake River Plain (to the west of Yellowstone) through a series of huge volcanic eruptions. Although the hotspot's apparent motion is to the east-northeast, the North American Plate is really moving west-southwest over the stationary hotspot deep underneath.

Over the past 17 million years or so, this hotspot has generated a succession of violent eruptions and less violent floods of basaltic lava. Together these eruptions have helped create the eastern part of the Snake River Plain from a once-mountainous region. At least a dozen or so of these eruptions were so massive that they are classified as supereruptions. Volcanic eruptions sometimes empty their stores of magma so swiftly that they cause the overlying land to collapse into the emptied magma chamber, forming a geographic depression called a caldera. Calderas formed from explosive supereruptions can be as wide and deep as mid- to large-sized lakes and can be responsible for destroying broad swaths of mountain ranges.

The oldest identified caldera remnant straddles the border near McDermitt, Nevada-Oregon. Progressively younger caldera remnants, most grouped in several overlapping volcanic fields, extend from the Nevada-Oregon border through the eastern Snake River Plain and terminate in the Yellowstone Plateau. One such caldera, the Bruneau-Jarbidge caldera in southern Idaho, was formed between 10 and 12 million years ago, and the event dropped ash to the depth of a foot 1,000 miles (1,600 km) away in northeastern Nebraska and killed a large herd of rhinoceroses, camels, and other animals at Ashfall Fossil Beds State Historical Park. Within the past 17 million years, 142 or more caldera-forming eruptions have occurred from the Yellowstone hotspot . The loosely defined term 'supervolcano' has been used to describe volcanic fields that produce exceptionally large volcanic eruptions. Thus defined, the Yellowstone Supervolcano is the volcanic field which produced the latest three supereruptions from the Yellowstone hotspot. The three super eruptions occurred 2.1 million, 1.3 million, and 640,000 years ago; forming the Island Park Caldera, the Henry's Fork Caldera, and Yellowstone calderas, respectively. The Island Park Caldera supereruption (2.1 million years ago), which produced the Huckleberry Ridge Tuff, was the largest and produced 2,500 times as much ash as the 1980 Mount St. Helens eruption. The next biggest supereruption formed the Yellowstone Caldera (630,000 years ago) and produced the Lava Creek Tuff. The Henry's Fork Caldera (1.2 million years ago) produced the smaller Mesa Falls Tuff but is the only caldera from the SRP-Y hotspot that is plainly visible today.

Non-explosive eruptions of lava and less-violent explosive eruptions have occurred in and near the Yellowstone caldera since the last supereruption. The most recent lava flow occurred about 70,000 years ago, while the largest violent eruption excavated the West Thumb of Lake Yellowstone around 150,000 years ago. Smaller steam explosions occur as well; an explosion 13,800 years ago left a 5 kilometer diameter crater at Mary Bay on the edge of Yellowstone Lake (located in the center of the caldera). Currently, volcanic activity is exhibited via numerous geothermal vents scattered throughout the region, including the famous Old Faithful Geyser, plus recorded ground swelling indicating ongoing inflation of the underlying magma chamber.

The volcanic eruptions, as well as the continuing geothermal activity, are a result of a great cove of magma located below the caldera's surface. The magma in this cove contains gases that are kept dissolved only by the immense pressure that the magma is under. If the pressure is released to a sufficient degree by some geological shift, then some of the gases bubble out and cause the magma to expand. This can cause a runaway reaction. If the expansion results in further relief of pressure, for example, by blowing crust material off the top of the chamber, the result is a very big gas explosion.

4.8 magnitude earthquake strikes Yellowstone: largest quake in 29 years

Posted on March 31, 2014: A 4.8 magnitude quake rocked Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming near the border with Montana, the US Geological Survey said. There were several aftershocks with a magnitude over 3. The earthquake occurred 37 kilometers northeast of West Yellowstone, Montana at 6:34 am local time (1234 GMT) Sunday. The quake was centered almost in the middle of Yellowstone National Park, near the Norris Geyser Basin, said Peter Cervelli, a spokesman for the USGS Yellowstone Volcano Observatory, NBC News reported. He added that any damage from the temblor would likely be minor, noting there are not many visitors in the park at the moment. There were no immediate reports of damage. According to USGS there were four aftershocks recorded with a magnitude from 3.1 to 3.3. The USGS said that more are expected. The secondary shockwaves are usually less violent than the main quake but can be strong enough to do additional damage to weakened structures, the USGS said.

Cervalli stated that the quake is not expected to trigger any volcanic activity. Yellowstone National park, North America's largest volcanic field, is the home to a caldera, sometimes referred to as the Yellowstone Supervolcano. Due to the volcanic and tectonic nature of the region, the caldera experiences 1 to 20 earthquakes every day, according to Yellowstone observatory. However they are very weak often measuring much less than magnitude 3. The quake on Sunday was the most powerful to hit the park since 1985. In the fall of 1985 in the northwest rim of the caldera during a three-month period of increased earthquake activity over 3000 events of magnitude 0 to 4.9 were recorded by seismologists. Geologists are closely monitoring the rise of the Yellowstone Plateau. The upward movement of the Yellowstone caldera floor between 2004 and 2008 was almost 3 inches (about 7 cm) each year, according to a University of Utah scientists report in the journal Science in November 2008. That was more than three times greater than ever observed since such measurements began in 1923. "Our best evidence is that the crustal magma chamber is filling with molten rock," said seismologist Robert B. Smith, lead author of the study and professor of geophysics at the University of Utah. "But we have no idea how long this process goes on before there either is an eruption or the inflow of molten rock stops and the caldera deflates again," he added. ­RT

Earthquake swarm under Mammoth Mountain

February 06, 2014 An earthquake swarm under Mammoth Mountain (Mono County, CA), which started slowly on February 3, 2014 intensified in the early hours of February 5 with many small-magnitude earthquakes occurring in rapid succession, a phenomenon known as "spasmodic bursts." The largest earthquake over the ~ 4 hours of heightened activity, a magnitude 3.0, occurred shortly after 1am local time. The swarm is emanating from depths of about 5 km (~ 3 miles) below the surface. Most earthquakes in the swarm are too small to be felt, but the magnitude 3.0 earthquake was felt by a few people in the town of Mammoth Lakes. Presently, earthquake activity beneath the mountain remains above background levels. Earthquake swarms, including spasmodic bursts, occur periodically beneath Mammoth Mountain. The current swarm is notable, however, because it includes the largest magnitude event (M3.0) observed in ~15 years. View chart here This area is Southwest of the Long Valley Caldera

The 16 x 32 km (20 x 10 mi) Long Valley caldera east of the central Sierra Nevada Range formed as a result of the voluminous Bishop Tuff eruption (considered a "super eruption) about 760,000 years ago. Resurgent doming in the central part of the caldera occurred shortly afterwards, and the last eruptions inside the caldera occurred about 50,000 years ago. During early resurgent doming the caldera was filled with a large lake that left lake-shore traces (strandlines) on the caldera walls and the resurgent dome island; the lake eventually drained through the Owens River Gorge. The caldera remains thermally active, with many hot springs and fumaroles, and has had significant deformation, seismicity, and other unrest in recent years.



February 2, 2014 -- (TRN) -- A seismometer inside a borehole at Yellowstone National Park has begun reporting staggering underground activity near the southwest corner of Yellowstone Lake, possibly signaling the beginning of an eruption of the Super Volcano at the Yellowstone National Park. TRN has obtained the image of the Seismograph report and now YOU can see it for yourself!  This could be very nasty. . Yellowstone lake is pretty much the center of what is the Yellowstone Caldera; the mouth of a massive Super Volcano, located beneath the park.

 The activity began around 12:00 Noon, Mountain Standard Time (MST) on February 1, and was detected by a seismometer in Borehole B944 then continued, non-stop, all day yesterday getting worse and worse as the hours wore on.  The activity is continuing right now at 6:06 EST AM as this news article is being produced.

Feb 14, 2014 - Eruption of Mount Kelud in Indonesia Caught By Suomi NPP

At 17:30 UTC on February 13, 2014, the Suomi NPP satellite passed over the Indonesian island of Java, capturing the ash cloud emanating from the Mount Kelud volcano. Mount Kelud erupted just hours before, causing the evacuation of over 75,000 people, and impacting air travel in the region.

Kelut Volcano, Indonesia A major eruption occurred at Kelut volcano (Kelud), Indonesia on 13th February 2014. The eruption was heard 200 km away in Yogyakarta. Ash reached an altitude of 55,000 ft and extended 500 nautical miles WSW. A 10 km exclusion zone was placed around the volcano, and 200,000 people ordered to evacuate. Kelut volcano has a history of dangerous eruptions. 

Italy's Mount Vesuvius rattled by several small tremors February 13, 2014 ­ ITALY - Yesterday, February 11, 2014, a slight tremor was recorded from 'observatory' at Mount Vesuvius.   This tremor recorded by the observatory near Naples, has reached a magnitude of 1.8.

February 2014 ­ INDONESIA - The government has raised the status on another 19 volcanoes in the country to alert level - the second-highest category - in the wake of the Mount Sinabung eruption in North Sumatra that killed 16 people on Saturday. Besides the 19 new additions, three volcanos have been on high alert status since last year. They include Lokon and Karangetang in North Sulawesi and Rokatenda in East Nusa Tenggara. The National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) issued the raised status on Monday for the 19 volcanoes, which are scattered across the archipelago, but has yet to call for the evacuation of populations living nearby. The 19 volcanoes are Kelud, Ijen, Bromo, Semeru and Raung in East Java; Lewotobi Perempuan in East Nusa Tenggara; Ibu, Gamkonora, Dukono and Gamalama in North Maluku; Soputan in North Sulawesi; Sangeang Api in West Nusa Tenggara; Papandayan in West Java; Dieng in Central Java; Seulewah Agam in Aceh; Talang and Marapi in West Sumatra; Anak Krakatau in Banten; and Kerinci in Jambi. Indonesia is among the world's most seismically active countries, situated on the Pacific Ring of Fire, an arc of volcanoes and fault lines encircling the Pacific Basin. The 19 volcanoes are among about 127 active volcanoes in Indonesia. Mt. Sinabung has been sporadically erupting since September.

Growing unrest reported at Peru's El Misti volcano: 418 earthquakes

January 17, 2014 ­ PERU - The volcano experienced an earthquake swarm during 14-15 January, IGP reported in its latest bulletin. An increase of approx. 25% in seismic activity overall with respect to last year's average was calculated, but IGP stresses that this activity is still low and does not suggest new activity in a near future.

Mount Sinabung Erupts More Than 30 Times January 16th

26,000 villagers flee their homes. Indonesia's Mt Sinabung sent hot rocks and ash 5 km (3 miles) into in the air, spreading hot clouds over a 4.5 km radius, said the Centre for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation. Enormous clouds rose from the mountain, as thick layers of grey ash blanketed plantations and nearby houses. Many of those who have left their homes since Mt Sinabung started erupting regularly in September have fallen ill ­ coughing mainly  - a local government official said. Mt Sinabung had been quiet for around 400 years until it rumbled back to life in 2010, and again in September last year.

Eruptions at Mt Etna Volcano, Sicily, continue with the Sunday, Dec. 15th, eruption forcing the closure of the Catania airport due to the plumes of ash billowing into the sky. Etna is an active volcano with frequent eruptions but this latest activity which began on Saturday is the most intense in months. Lava flowing down one side of the mountain is visible from Catania and Taormina. Three small earthquakes were also registered around the volcano on Sunday.

Mount Sinabung remains of RED alert (Dec. 18th) The Indonesian Volcanological Survey (VSI) informed in its latest press release that a significant increase in seismic activity was detected during the past days. While the volcano has been relatively calm at the surface, producing only a dilute gas plume with some ash reaching about 1 km above the crater, the increase in earthquakes suggests that new magma is currently rising and could produce new (potentially large) explosions. In particular, low-frequency and so-called hybrid earthquakes, typical of fluid movements inside the volcanic edifice, have climbed to almost 1,000 per day. Continuous volcanic tremor (internal vibration) at medium levels has also been detected over the past days. Deformation measurements with tilt-meters on the northern and eastern flank and EDM (electronic distance meters) show a fluctuating trend of inflation, suggesting the presence of an intruding magma body at shallow depth. Gas and temperature measurements are not conclusive from the VSI report, as quality / temporal coverage are insufficient. The exclusion zone was extended to 5 km radius, and the volcano remains on highest alert level and Aviation Color Code Red, because explosive eruptions with high-level ash clouds could occur any time.

About 12,300 evacuees from eight villages around the mountain were packed Sunday in crowded government camps away from the fiery crater, while more than 6,000 others fled earlier to temporary shelters in 16 safe locations, said National Disaster Mitigation spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho. Indonesian authorities raised the alert status for one of the country's most active volcanoes to the highest level Sunday after the mountain repeatedly sent hot clouds of gas down its slope following a series of eruptions in recent days. Mount Sinabung in North Sumatra province unleashed fresh volcanic ash and gravel as high as 5,000 meters (16,400 feet) and searing gas down its slope up to 2 kilometers (1.2 miles), said a government volcanologist, Surono, who like many Indonesians uses one name. Eruptions began in 2010 after being dormant for 1200 years.

Iceland's Askja volcano rattled by small earthquake swarms - Nov. 23rd A small swarm of earthquakes has occurred today under the eastern caldera rim. Another minor swarm took place yesterday under póroarhyrna volcano 20 km to the NE. The volcano last erupted in 1961.

Seven Volcanoes In Six Different Countries All Start Erupting Within Hours Of Each Other - Thursday, November 21, 2013 A new island has appeared in the Pacific. A submarine eruption just off Nishino-Shima Island Japan has erupted for the first time in 40 years. The Japanese Navy noticed the explosions as boiling lava met sea water giving rise to plumes of steam and ash. Almost 7,000 miles away in Mexico the Colima volcano blew it's top after a period of relative calm. A steam and ash cloud rose two miles into the sky and the grumbling of the mountain could be heard in towns a few miles away. In Guatemala the 'Fire Mountain' belched out lava and sent up a moderate ash cloud causing an ash fall over nearby towns. The explosions and shock waves occurring in the volcano can be felt by residents over 6 miles away. Doors and windows are reported to be rattling, but there has been no damage so far. In Vanuatu the Yasur volcano is giving some cause for concern. Although the explosions are quite weak the continuous ash that is coming from the mountain is starting to build up on farming land. Over to Italy and Mount Etna is putting on quite a display. The current eruption started a few days ago and has been getting stronger as time moves on. A massive eruption lit up the sky and disturbed residents yesterday. The ash cloud was high enough to see flights canceled. The lava flow was the biggest in years, and the town of Zafferana which lay in it's path saw some damage. Lava diverters were put into place, and most of the town escaped unscathed. In Indonesia a four mile high ash cloud is making life hard for residents. Mount Sinabung came back to life in 2010 after dormancy of hundreds of years. Occasionally coming to life after it's 2010 awakening, the rumbling of the volcano prompted the evacuation of over 6000 people as scientists feared a major eruption. There has been no lava flows so far but the ash cloud is growing. Still in Indonesia but on the island of Java this time Mount Merapi exploded yesterday. hundreds of people were killed when it last erupted in 2010. There is no news of casualties at this point.

Seven Volcanoes In Six Different Countries All Start Erupting Within Hours Of Each Other. Nov. 21st A submarine eruption just off Nishino-Shima Island Japan has erupted for the first time in 40 years. Almost 7,000 miles away in Mexico, the Colima volcano blew its top after a period of relative calm. In Guatemala the 'Fire Mountain' belched out lava and sent up a moderate ash cloud causing an ash fall over nearby towns. In Vanuatu the Yasur volcano is giving some cause for concern. Although the explosions are quite weak the continuous ash that is coming from the mountain is starting to build up on farming land. Over to Italy, Mount Etna is putting on quite a display. The current eruption started a few days ago and has been getting stronger as time moves on. In Indonesia a four mile high ash cloud is making life hard for residents. Mount Sinabung came back to life in 2010 after dormancy of hundreds of years. Still in Indonesia but on the island of Java this time, Mount Merapi exploded yesterday. The spasms of the earth come without warning, but at the same time those spasms should be a wake up call to all of us that change can happen in the blink of an eye.

Reawakening? Chile's Chaitén volcano shaken by earthquake swarm of 80 tremors In 2008, Chile's Chaitén volcano erupted after being dormant for more than 9,000 years. The eruption was the most powerful to occur on the planet in the last decade.

Radius expands around Mexico's Popocatepetl volcano after increase in emissions November 21, 2013 ­ MEXICO ­ The Popocatepetl volcano showcased with a layer of snow was observed throughout the morning and mid-day from the city of Puebla and columns generated by medium-intensity exhalations.

Mexico's Colima volcano goes ballistic after weeks of relative calm November 20, 2013 ­ MEXICO ­ On Monday night and Tuesday morning, the Colima volcano showed two strong exhalations; ejecting lava down its slopes and ash skyward, that has reached several villages.

Increased activity reported at volcanoes in Guatemala and Vanuatu November 20, 2013 ­ GUATEMALA ­ Two lava flows are active on the upper slopes of the volcano at the moment, to the Taniluya (south) and Ceniza canyon (SE).

Italy's Mt. Etna spews fire in dramatic night time eruption - November 20, 2013 ­ SICILY, ITALY ­ Mount Etna, the most active volcano in Europe, put on a spectacular show Saturday night and into Sunday. A massive eruption from Etna lit up the night sky over the island of Sicily.

Tower of ash overshadows life beneath Indonesia's erupting volcano November 20, 2013 ­ INDONESIA ­ The 8-kilometre-high ash cloud from Mount Sinabung dwarfs this villager in the north of the island of Sumatra, Indonesia, on Monday.

Volcanic Activity Summary: The eruption of Veniaminof resumed this morning. The Aviation Color Code has been increased to Orange and the Volcano Alert Level to Watch. Seismic tremor increased oner the past several hours, and highly elevated surface temperature were observed in satellite images this morning. Lava effusion has likely resumed, but no ash emissions have been observed in satellite images. Web camera images are obscured by clouds. This is a similar level of eruptive activity that first began in June 2013.


Mount Veniaminof volcano is an andesitic stratovolcano with an ice-filled 10-km diameter summit caldera located on the Alaska Peninsula, 775 km (480 mi) southwest of Anchorage and 35 km (22 mi) north of Perryville. Veniaminof is one of the largest (~ 300 km3) and most active volcanic centers in the Aleutian Arc and has erupted at least 13 times in the past 200 years. Recent significant eruptions of the volcano occurred in 1993-95 and 2005. Both were moderate Strombolian eruptions producing intermittent low-level jets of incandescent lava fragments, and low-level emissions of steam and ash from the main intracaldera cone. During the 1993-95 activity, a small lava flow was extruded into the summit caldera ice field producing an ice pit. Minor ash-producing explosions occurred in 2002, 2004, early 2005, November 2006, and February 2008. Previous historical eruptions have produced ash plumes that reached 6,000 m (20,000 ft) above sea level and ash fallout that blanketed areas within about 40 km (25 mi) of the volcano.

Underwater volcano the size of Arizona

Sept. 6, 2013 The world's largest volcano lies hidden beneath the Pacific Ocean about 1,000 miles (1,600 km) east of Japan, researchers announced this week in the journal Nature Geoscience. Called the Tamu Massif, the enormous rounded mound dwarfs the previous record holder, Hawaii's Mauna Loa, said William Sager, lead study author and a geologist at the University of Houston. Mauna Loa, the Earth's largest active volcano, covers only 2,000 square miles, less than two per cent of the size of the Tamu Massif. Measuring 400 miles (650 km) wide and about 2.5 miles (4 km) tall, Tamu is a monster roughly about the size of Arizona. It erupted for a few million years during the early Cretaceous period, about 144 million years ago, the researchers report. The volume of Tamu Massif is about 600,000 cubic miles (2.5 million cubic km), bigger than the British Isles or New Mexico. Its top lies about 6,500 feet (1,980 meters) below the ocean surface today. "The slopes are very shallow," said Sager. "If you were standing on this thing, you would have a difficult time telling which way was downhill." Only 25 percent smaller than Olympus Mons on Mars, it may be the second largest volcano in the solar system.

Almost certainly dead

Fortunately, the volcano is almost certainly dead. "As much as we know that anything's dead, this looks dead," Sager said. Until now, geologists thought Tamu Massif was simply part of an oceanic plateau called Shatsky Rise. Oceanic plateaus are the biggest piles of lava on Earth. Their outpourings have been linked to mass extinctions and climate change. Anyone who wants to explain oceanic plateaus must "be able to explain this volcano forming in one spot and deliver this kind of magma supply in a short time," says Sager.

Named after Texas A&M University

Sager, a longtime Texas A&M University professor, named the feature Tamu Massif because Tamu is short for Texas A&M University. Massif is French for "massive" and is a scientific term for a large mountain. The Tamu Massif is located within the Shatsky rise. (ODP)

Links: lcano-oceanography-science/ vered-on-Pacific-floor.html

La Garita Caldera is a large volcanic caldera located in the San Juan volcanic field in the San Juan Mountains in southwestern Colorado, United States, to the west of the town of La Garita, Colorado. The eruption that created the La Garita Caldera was, perhaps, the largest known explosive eruption in all of Earth's history (the Siberian Traps may have been larger but the cause is still being debated). The La Garita Caldera is one of a number of calderas that formed during a massive ignimbrite flare-up in Colorado, Utah and Nevada from 40­25 million years ago, and was the site of truly enormous eruptions about 28­26 million years ago, during the Oligocene Epoch. The area devastated by the La Garita eruption is thought to have covered a significant portion of what is now Colorado, and ash could have fallen as far as the east coast of North America and the Caribbean. The scale of La Garita volcanism was far beyond anything known in human history. The resulting deposit, known as the Fish Canyon Tuff, has a volume of approximately 1,200 cubic miles (5,000 km3), enough material to fill Lake Michigan (in comparison, the May 18, 1980 eruption of Mt. St. Helens was only 0.25 cubic miles (1.0 km3) in volume). By contrast, the most powerful human-made explosive device ever detonated, the Tsar Bomba or Emperor Bomb, had a yield of 50 megatons, whereas the eruption at La Garita was approximately 105 times more powerful. It is possibly the most energetic event on Earth since the Chicxulub impact, which was 50 times more powerful.

The California Volcano Observatory (CalVO). At Long Valley Caldera, analysis of continuous GPS data over the first half of 2012 showed a modest inflationary pattern within the caldera; ground motion was directed upward and away from the caldera's center, with a maximum uplift rate between 2 and 3 cm/yr. In January of this year at Clear Lake Volcanic Field, a short-lived swarm of low-magnitude earthquakes was detected under the south flank of Mt Konocti. For detailed info, click here

Automated Volcanic-Gas Sniffer Installed at Mammoth Mountain Fumarole

August 12, 2014 In July 2014, USGS Scientists Peter Kelly (Cascades Volcano Observatory) and Stuart Wilkinson (California Volcano Observatory) installed an automated volcanic-gas monitoring station on Mammoth Mountain, located on the SW rim of Long Valley Caldera (CA). The station tracks the temperature and concentrations of carbon dioxide and other gases at a steaming vent high on the north flank of the mountain known as Mammoth Mountain Fumarole. Temperature and gas composition often fluctuate with earthquake activity under the mountain, probably because shaking opens new pathways for heat and gas to flow towards the surface. The new gas monitor will help scientists track these changes in near real-time. The station will be deployed for the summer months and retrieved before deep snow blankets the mountain.

Small Earthquake Swarm

June 27, 2014 - A swarm of small earthquakes (magnitudes less than 2) occurred at a depth of 6-7 km (about 4 miles) beneath Highway 203 in Mammoth Lakes, California midway between the water treatment plant and the Highway 395-203 junction, June 27, 2014. The swarm began at 4:50 AM and continued with sporadic activity through the morning hours. As of 1:50 PM it appears to have largely died away. We detected no ground deformation associated with this activity, and it poses no immediate hazard.

NVEWS: National Volcano Early Warning System

The National Volcano Early Warning System (NVEWS) is a proposed national-scale plan to ensure that volcanoes are monitored at levels commensurate to their threats. The plan was developed by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Volcano Hazards Program (VHP) and its affiliated partners in the Consortium of U.S. Volcano Observatories (CUSVO) (

Roughly half of the Nation's 169 young volcanoes are dangerous because of the manner in which they erupt and the communities within their reach. Currently, many of these volcanoes have insufficient monitoring systems (for example, seismometers and continuous GPS [Global Positioning System]), and others have outdated equipment. The NVEWS plan ensures that the most hazardous volcanoes would be properly monitored well in advance of the onset of activity, making it possible for scientists to improve the timeliness and accuracy of hazard forecasts and for citizens to take proper and timely action to reduce risk.

In addition, the NVEWS plan seeks to improve a number of capabilities of the US volcanology community through the following elements: 1) Increased partnerships with local governments and emergency responders, 2) grants to universities and other groups for cooperative research to advance volcano science, monitoring technologies, and mitigation strategies, 3) added staffing and automation to improve 24/7 monitoring of volcanoes, and 4) computer systems to distribute data to scientists, responding agencies, and the public, and to unify the systems currently used to monitor US volcanoes.

More information can be found in the documents listed here



Yellowstone Monthly Update

 Current Volcano Alert Level: NORMAL

 Current Aviation Color Code: GREEN

Yellowstone Map and current information here

Recent Eeathquakes at Yellowstone - map & listing

Listing of the last 200 Earthquakes

Yellowstone Hazard Program - Monitoring

Yellowstone's Plumbing Reveals Plume of Hot and Molten Rock 410 Miles Deep

ScienceDaily (Dec. 14, 2009) - The most detailed seismic images yet published of the plumbing that feeds the Yellowstone supervolcano shows a plume of hot and molten rock rising at an angle from the northwest at a depth of at least 410 miles, contradicting claims that there is no deep plume, only shallow hot rock moving like slowly boiling soup.

New Articles on Yellowstone Hot Spot and Hydrothermal Processes

The Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research recently (20 November 2009) published a special volume on the track of the Yellowstone Hot Spot.

Listing of articles for preview and purchase

Yellowstone: Compare the Seismic Graphs - Side-by-Side images on

View the Yellowstone Seismic Graphs for a Location & a Date: of particular interest is the station LKWY

There is a recurring harmonic pattern that occurs that is unlike a regular shake pattern. It is seen at regular intercvals (like it might be man-inducded?).




Yellowstone Volcano Rises at Unprecedented Rate

By Andrea Thompson, LiveScience Staff Writer: 08 November 2007 02:00 pm ET

Yellowstone's ancient volcanic floor has been rising since mid-2004 because a blob of molten rock the size of Los Angeles infiltrated the system 6 miles beneath the surface, scientists say, but there is no risk of an eruption.

Yellowstone National Park is the site of North America's largest volcanic field, which is produced by a hotspot, or gigantic plume of hot, molten rock, that begins at least 400 miles (643 kilometers) beneath Earth's surface and rises to 30 miles (48 kilometers) underground, where it widens to about 300 miles across.

Yellowstone Volcano Observatory (YVO) just released a Preliminary Assessment of Volcanic and Hydrothermal Hazards in Yellowstone National Park and Vicinity.

University of Utah scientists publish long-term study of crustal motions of the Yellowstone Hotspot

Satellite Technologies Detect Uplift in the Yellowstone Caldera


Updates are compiled for the previous month and posted in the first week of the new month.


 To help readers understand the implications of what is taking place, we first show the enormity of Yellowstone National ""PARK" with stats from the US National Park Service:

· Yellowstone was the world's first National Park

· A designated World Heritage Site and designated Biosphere Reserve

· 3,472 square miles or 8,987 square km

· 2,221,766 acres or 898,317 hectares

· 63 air miles north to south (102 km)

· 54 air miles east to west 87 km)

· 96 % in Wyoming

· 3 % in Montana

· 1 % in Idaho

· Highest Point: 11,358 ft / 3,462 m (Eagle Peak)

· Lowest Point: 5,282 ft / 1,610 m (Reese Creek)

· Larger than Rhode Island and Delaware combined

· About one-quarter the size of Switzerland and about 65% the size of Montenegro

· Approximately 5% of park is covered by water; 15% is grassland; and 80% is forest

· Precipitation ranges from 10 inches (26 cm) at the north boundary to 80 inches (205 cm) in the southwest corner

· Temperatures (average) at Mammoth: January: 9° F/-13 C in July: 80° F/27 C

· Records: High: 99°F/37 C, 2002 (Mammoth) Low Temp: -66° F/-54 C (West Entrance, Riverside Station 1933)


Journal Articles on the Track of the Yellowstone Hot Spot

The Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research recently (20 November 2009) published a special volume on the track of the Yellowstone Hot Spot


Monday, February 2, 2009 10:52 MST (Monday, February 2, 2009 17:52 UTC)

Seismicity Summary: As of January 8, 2009, the seismic activity has markedly decreased. Beginning Dec 26, 2008, the second largest earthquake swarm of Yellowstone's recorded seismic history occurred beneath the north end of Yellowstone Lake. The swarm continued into Jan. 2009, but subsided rather quickly in activity on January 5. The Lake swarm consisted of 813 well-located earthquakes with magnitudes ranging from -0.8 to 3.9. This sequence contained 19 earthquakes of M>3.0 as well as 141 events of 2<M<2.9. Several of the M>3 swarm events were felt throughout Yellowstone National Park and surrounding area. For the entire month of January, 2009 315 earthquakes were located with 205 of these events associated with the Yellowstone Lake swarm, the largest being M 3.5 on January 2 at 11:32 AM MST. There have not been any reports of damage from the Yellowstone Lake swarm. Note that the largest earthquake swarm recorded in Yellowstone began in the autumn of 1985 on the west side of the caldera and east of West Yellowstone MT. It lasted for ~4 months and contained earthquakes of M>4.

In Jan. 9 to Jan 12, a secondary swarm of 35 earthquakes occurred near the northeast edge of the Yellowstone caldera, about 10 miles (16 km) NNE of the north end of the Yellowstone Lake swarm. This sequence included events with magnitudes of 0.4 to 3.3.

For comparison, Yellowstone commonly experiences 1,000 to 3,000 earthquakes per year and there have been more than 32,000 well-recorded earthquakes in Yellowstone from 1973 to 2009. Earthquakes that are closely spaced in time and area are termed swarms and are a common mode of seismic energy release in the Yellowstone caldera. From 1984 to 2008 there were 80 swarms documented in Yellowstone. The last notable swarm occurred in 2004.

Earthquake activity in the Yellowstone was elevated during the Yellowstone Lake swarm but has returned to relatively normal background levels.

Yellowstone Volcano Observatory partners continue to analyze the seismic and ground deformation data from the Yellowstone Lake swarm and are evaluating any changes to the thermal areas located near the epicenters. If any changes are to be verified, they are quite small.

Ground Deformation Summary: Through January 2009, continuous GPS data show that much of the Yellowstone caldera continued moving upward, though at a lower rate than the past several years. The nearest GPS station to the swarm, at Lake Jct., about 2 km from the swarm has experienced ground uplift over the past 55 months of about ~18 cm (A plot of the vertical and horizontal ground motions at the Lake GPS station can be found at: The WLWY station has undergone ~21 cm of uplift over the same time period. These and all other Yellowstone GPS data are being analyzed for unusual properties that may be associated with the Yellowstone Lake swarm. The general uplift of the Yellowstone caldera is of scientific importance and will continue to be monitored closely by YVO staff.

An article on the current uplift episode at Yellowstone and discussion of long-term ground deformation at Yellowstone and elsewhere can be found at:

Small Earthquake Swarm on 9 January 2009 near northeast corner of Yellowstone Caldera

A currently modest swarm of earthquakes began in the northeast corner of the Yellowstone Caldera, about 10 miles (16 km) NNE of the north end of the Yellowstone Lake swarm that was active in late December and early January. As of 1930 MST, 10 earthquakes had been located by the University of Utah Seismograph Stations, the largest with M= 3.3 and two other events with M >2.0. Located depths are between 2 and 4 km.

Yellowstone Volcano Observatory staff and collaborators are analyzing the data from this and from the earlier Yellowstone Lake swarm and are checking for any changes to the thermal areas located near the epicenters. We will provide further information as it becomes available.

Yellowstone Lake Earthquake Swarm Summary as of 8 January 2009


Image 1. Yellowstone Lake showing location and times of the recent earthquakes from Dec. 27, 2008 (blue) to Jan. 8, 2009 (red). The M 3.0 and greater earthquakes are shown as stars, the smaller earthquakes are shown as circles. During the swarm, the earthquake locations appear to have moved north.

December 2008 Yellowstone Earthquake And Ground Deformation Summary

Earthquake Summary:

Yellowstone seismicity increased significantly in December 2008 due to an energetic earthquake swarm that commenced on December 26. This swarm, a sequence of earthquakes clustered in space and time, is occurring beneath the northern part of Yellowstone Lake in Yellowstone National Park. As of this writing, the largest of these earthquakes was a magnitude 3.9 at 10:15 pm MST on Dec. 27. Through 5:00 pm MST on Dec. 31, the sequence had included 12 events of magnitude 3.0 to 3.9 and approximately 20 of magnitude 2.5 to 2.9, with a total of at least 400 events large enough to be located (magnitude ~1 or larger). National Park Service (NPS) employees and visitors have reported feeling the largest of these earthquakes in the area around Yellowstone Lake and at Old Faithful and Grant Village.

The hypocenters of the swarm events cluster along a north-south-trending zone that is about 7 km long. The vast majority of the focal depths are shallower than 5 km. It is not possible to identify a causative fault of other feature without further analysis.

Analysts are currently processing the backlog of seismic data from these events. The current analyst-processed catalog is believed to include all events of magnitude 2.5 and greater through Dec 31 at 5 pm MST, but hundreds of earthquakes remain to be processed. The total of more than 400 locatable events is based on automatically-determined locations and magnitudes for the swarm events.

The December 2008 earthquake sequence is the most intense in this area for some years. No damage has been reported within Yellowstone National Park, nor would any be expected from earthquakes of this size. The swarm is in a region of historical earthquake activity and is close to areas of Yellowstone famous hydrothermal activity. Similar earthquake swarms have occurred in the past in Yellowstone without triggering steam explosions or volcanic activity. Nevertheless, there is some potential for hydrothermal explosions and earthquakes may continue or increase in magnitude. There is a much lower potential for related volcanic activity.

The National Park Service in Yellowstone has been kept fully informed of the ongoing seismic activity via electronic means and by phone contacts with the University of Utah and the U.S. Geological Survey USGS). The Wyoming Office of Homeland Security is reviewing Earthquake Response Plans and monitoring seismic activity.

Earthquakes are a common occurrence in the Yellowstone National Park area, an active volcanic-tectonic area averaging 1,000 to 2,000 earthquakes a year. Yellowstone's 10,000 geysers and hot springs are the result of this geologic activity. A summary of Yellowstone's volcanic history is available on the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory web site (listed below).

The University of Utah operates a seismic network in Yellowstone National Park in conjunction with the National Park Service and the U.S. Geological Survey. These three institutions are partners in the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory. Seismic data from Yellowstone are transmitted to the University in real-time by radio and satellite links from a network of 28 seismographs in the Yellowstone area and are available on the web.

Seismologists continue to monitor and analyze data from this swarm of earthquakes and provide updates to the NPS and USGS and to the public via the following web pages. Information on U.S. earthquake activity including Yellowstone can be viewed at the U.S. Geological Survey web site:

Information on earthquakes can also be viewed at the University of Utah Seismograph Stations web site:

Seismographic recordings from Yellowstone seismograph stations can be viewed online at:

An article on earthquake swarms at Yellowstone is available at the following:

Geologic information, maps, and monitoring information for Yellowstone can be found on the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory web site at:

Ground Deformation Summary:

Through December 2008, continuous GPS data show that much of the Yellowstone caldera continued moving upward, though at a lower rate than the past few years. The maximum measured ground uplift over the past 53 months is ~23 cm at the White Lake GPS station, north of Fishing Bridge. An example can be found at:

The general uplift of the Yellowstone caldera is scientifically important and will continue to be monitored and studied closely by YVO staff. A discussion of the current uplift episode at Yellowstone and long-term ground deformation at Yellowstone and elsewhere can be found at:

Earthquake Magnitude ranging from barely felt into the 3.6 mag. range have been swarming since Dec. 26, 2008. On Jan. 1, 2009 there have been 241 earthquakes registering in this swarm at 44 degress North, 110 degrees West. For an updated list of this activity, click here.


On Going Activity/Unrest:



Cascade Range Weekly Update

 Current Volcano Alert Level: NORMAL

 Current Aviation Color Code: GREEN


Activity Update: All volcanoes in the Cascade Range are at normal levels of background seismicity. These include Mount Baker, Glacier Peak, Mount Rainier, Mount St. Helens, and Mount Adams in Washington State; Mount Hood, Mount Jefferson, Three Sisters, Newberry Volcano, and Crater Lake, in Oregon; and Medicine Lake volcano, Mount Shasta, and Lassen Peak in northern California.

Mount St. Helens has been at Volcano Alert Level NORMAL (Aviation Color Code GREEN) since July 10, 2008.

For a webcam view of the volcano:

Mount St. Helens Eruption Highlights 2004 - Present

A Volcano Rekindled: The Renewed Eruption of Mount St. Helens, 2004-2006

Mount St. Helens VolcanoCam

Mount St. Helens's "Drumbeat" Quakes Caused by Stuck Plug?

November 22, 2006

The current eruption of Washington State's Mount St. Helens, which began about two years ago, has been marked by a series of weak, shallow earthquakes, or "drumbeats," that occur every couple of minutes, a new study says. The "slip/stick" motion of the rocky "plug" being pushed out of the volcano is causing those rhythmic quakes, according to scientists from the Cascades Volcano Observatory in Vancouver, Washington





Long Valley Monitoring Data

Maps of Long Valley Caldera and Mono-Inyo Craters Volcanic Chain, California

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