Tuesday 31 December 2013

Magnitude 3.1 Earthquake in eastern Idaho.

The United States Geological Survey recorded a Magnitude 3.1 Earthquake at a depth of 4.4 km beneath the city of Driggs in  Teton County in eastern Idaho, slightly before 5.05 pm local time on Sunday 29 December 2013 (slightly before 0.05 am on Monday 30 December, GMT). There are no reports of any damage or injuries associated with this event, though many people reported feeling the quake.

The approximate location of the 29 December 2013 Driggs Earthquake. Google Maps.

The quake took place close to the Yellowstone Magma Chamber in the northeast of Wyoming, an area that suffers more-or-less constant small tremors due to the movement of magma beneath the surface, but which seldom experiences larger quakes. The constant small movements around Yellowstone can lead to stress building up in rocks further away, leading to Earthquakes as the rocks release the strain by readjusting their positions, which can affect Wyoming as well as neighbouring Idaho and Montana. The same faults also suffer stress due to more distant rock movements, notably on the subduction zone on the American west coast.

Witness accounts of Earthquakes can help geologists to understand these events and the underlying structures that cause them. If you felt this quake (or if you were in the area but did not, which is also useful information) then you can report it to the United States Geological Survey here.

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