But what is the source behind the earthquakes? Some of the quakes in Yellowstone are thought to be caused by a fault, while others have been linked to a landslide as the magma below the Yellowstone caldera pushes upwards. The magma under the Yellowstone volcano is known to move very fast. If the earthquake swarm in the Park were due to the fault then there would have been no earthquake shaking through the Park. If the quake were due to a landslide then then the Park would have also missed the quake shaking as this would not have been possible for the huge amount of earthmoving machinery in the Park and the Yellowstone City Police were already on the scene to clear the Park. But what about earthquakes in Utah? These are well documented in the US Geological Survey (USGS) - one of the most important American scientific agencies. To date, Utah has experienced more earthquakes of epic proportions and there has been a record number of earthquakes in the Western Hemisphere over the last few hundred years. The first earthquake in May of 1856 in Utah shocked the West Coast and then another earthquake in 1859 in Utah shook America. The last quake in May of 2011 shook the West Coast again, when the earthquake was at magnitude 5.0. Another 7.5 quake in Chile caused by a giant fault rupture in the Pacific became the most significant earthquake in South America in 1970. A number of US citizens were killed and scores injured during the 1964 earthquake in California, while an earthquake in Haiti in 1980 killed more than 300 people. What if earthquakes due to the same faults in the Yellowstone Caldera were to occur in Utah? As most of these quakes are due to the fault, it can be argued that the quakes are caused by the fault. If they were due to the slide then the Park simply would not have had so many of the same earthquakes. So what are the real explanations for these quakes, and how in the world could they be due to the same source? The biggest clue is that the quakes occurred in a location known to be very susceptible to a landslide. In the US, the biggest landslide is in Utah, which as expected, is also located between the two biggest earthquakes in the world. A landslide can easily rip a large crater in a mountain. This is one reason we have such big bluffs like the Grand Canyon and Mount Everest. If the Yellowstone bluffs were to be torn away, then the bluffs are very easy to cause huge earthquakes. This can be seen in the following videos. On one of these videos a huge landslide causes an earthquake right next to the Park at the same time. Other videos from the same location show landslides that seem to be caused by the same source. This is a really well recorded series by this YouTube channel. What could the possible causes of the earthquakes be? Another theory would be that there has been less volcanic activity in the world over the last century, thus more pressure will be put on the Earth’s crust as it gets older. The geologists argue that the quakes can also be due to the slow movement of the crust of the Earth, causing the crust to slide slowly and thus causing the earthquakes. In other words, the current quakes could really mean a crust motion similar to a slow down of the crust of the Earth on a larger scale, thus causing large quakes. There are other interesting theories, but let’s leave any discussions about that for another post. It really doesn’t matter whether we are talking about a volcano or a bluffs (as seen in the videos below). How in the world could this happen and what is the relationship between the two? The bottom line? We need to understand the source of these quakes.
More information on the Yellowstone Park Earthquake Swarms.