Earthquake swarm: 600 Earthquakes Hit Mammoth Mountain Volcano Area In California

September 27, 2014 | By Garrett Montgomery More

Earthquake Swarm

Earthquake swarm hits Mammoth Lakes, California. In a statement issued by the United States Geological Survey, it was revealed that an earthquake swarm of more than 600 temblors had rattled the region in the last two days. But there is no need to be alarmed.

The Mammoth Mountain Volcano in California has been rattled by hundreds of earthquakes this week.

The area has been experiencing an earthquake swarm, which can be described as sequences of numerous earthquakes in a brief period of time.

Earthquake swarms typically occur after eruptions of volcanoes, but that is not the case for the Mammoth Mountain.

The Mammoth Mountain, is a lava dome, which stands at 11,053 feet and was formed after a series of eruptions about 57,000 years ago.

It releases hazardous volcanic gases that kill trees and skiers/vacationers who travel to the area.

In the case of the Mammoth Lakes area, the earthquake swarm began on Thursday September 25, 2014 at around 4 AM and ended by Friday evening, experts from the United States Geological Survey had counted more than 600 quakes.

According to David Shelly, a USGS research seismologist from the California Volcano Observatory shared that the minor earthquakes measured 1.0 to 3.8 on the Richter magnitude scale.

8 earthquakes were between 3.0 and 3.8, and were felt by people living in northeast of Fresno.

Via social media networking sites, many residents reported the quake swarm and confessed that they have grown accustomed of having the earth shake under their feet and are not scared.

One person who works at the airport shaken by the quakes stated:

“In Florida they have hurricanes, Oklahoma has tornadoes and California has quakes, while Hawaii has the sun.”

Shelly who has been monitoring the volcanic system near Mammoth Lakes in a volcanic-gas monitoring station on the mountain had an explanation for the new earthquake swarm, he said:

“We think there is fluid coming up from the crust triggering the earthquakes.”

United States Geological Survey gave more details on the Mammoth earthquake swarm, they explained:

“The earthquakes themselves are small, brittle-failure (rock breaking) events. Such events are sometimes called “tectonic.” The earthquakes do not result from the underground movement of magma. We can distinguish between brittle-failure earthquakes and those resulting from magma movement by the characteristics of the seismic waveforms.”

While 600 earthquakes in less than 24 hours can sound alarming especially in the state of California, according to the seismologists studying the area, it is not. The experts said:

“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.”

The truth of the matter is that 600 earthquakes near Mammoth Lakes is still considered “rather modest activity” by USGS researchers.

The seismologists have confirmed that there have been several earthquake swarms that have occurred in the caldera this year.

In their lengthy report, USGS scientists explained that the Mammoth Mountain is in an area called the Long Valley Caldera that is known for energetic seismic activity.

Between 1997 and 1998, a swarm of quakes produced more than 2,500 earthquakes. Below is a detailed map of the earthquake swarm that occurred at Mammoth Lakes this week. Have you felt anything?


Category: News

Comments (1)

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  1. Abigail says:

    I love in Mammoth, we have felt a couple in the past few days, but over all- I’ve only been able to really notice about 4 or 5. It’s never a very big deal in the area, they’re rather small, really. I work at a hotel and some of the tourists have both friends and family texting/calling to make sure everything is alright. It’s been pretty funny haha

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