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Rare, three earthquakes hit Yellowstone simultaneously

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 Utah) Scientists at the University of Utah are studying a rare earthquake event: three sets of earthquakes struck Yellowstone National Park at the same time.

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 Utah) Scientists at the University of Utah are studying a rare earthquake event: three sets of earthquakes struck Yellowstone National Park at the same time.

“A little better understanding each time something happens,” said Jamie Farrel, a post-doctoral student studying earthquakes, specifically in Yellowstone. “Last week we had a series of earthquake swarms.”

Earthquakes in Yellowstone are not unusual. Since 1972 there have been roughly 45,000 earthquakes – mostly small – in the area.

“We had three happen at the same time,” said Farrel. “And all three of them had greater than 3.0 magnitude events that people felt.”

That is the first time three earthquake swarms have happened at the same time in park.

“Just because it's the first time we've seen it, doesn't mean it's the first time it's happened,” said Farrel.

The event is an important step toward understand Yellowstone’s volcanic system.

“The bottom line is, we really want to understand how the system works,” said Farrel. “And use that information to try to mitigate hazards.”

While three simultaneous earthquakes are a rare event, it does not necessarily mean that disaster is looming.

“Definitely not,” said Farrel. “These are things that happen over time in an area like Yellowstone.”

While these quakes were felt in the park, they weren't strong enough to change any of the geyser activity, like Old Faithful.

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