Yellowstone Caldera Chronicles is a weekly column written by scientists and collaborators of the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory. This week’s contribution is from Michael Poland, geophysicist with the U.S. Geological Survey and scientist-in-charge of the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory.
Any annual review of Yellowstone’s activity has to start with seismicity. Yellowstone is an active place in terms of earthquakes. Typically the University of Utah Seismograph Stations, which is responsible for the operation of the Yellowstone Seismic Network, locates 1,500–2,500 earthquakes every year in the region. Over the last several years, annual seismicity in and around Yellowstone National Park has varied about this average, including:
2017—3,427 earthquakes located
2018—2,007 earthquakes located
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2019—1,218 earthquakes located
2020—1,722 earthquakes located
2021—2,773 earthquakes located
In 2022, there were almost 2,500 earthquakes located in the Yellowstone region. The largest event of the year was an M4.2 earthquake that occurred in the eastern part of the park on May 11 — coincidentally, the first day of an in-person coordination meeting of the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory in Mammoth Hot Springs. The quake was broadly felt, including by YVO scientists, and was the strongest seismic event in the region since a M4.4 event in 2017.