"Supervolcano" Concerns Rise After Montana Hit By Strongest Earthquake In 20 Years

Tyler Durden's picture

Following a swarm of over 1100 earthquakes recorded in the Yellowstone caldera over the past month, prompting scientists to voice concerns about a dormant Yellowstone "Supervolcano" slowly waking up, overnight these concerns escalated after a strong M5.8 earthquake hit western Montana early on Thursday morning - the strongest quake to hit the area in the past 20 years - the U.S. Geological Survey reported, with Reuters adding that the tremor was felt hundreds of miles away, from Missoula to Billings and some surrounding states. 

The quake appears to be the largest to hit Montana since a slightly weaker M5.6 struck outside of Dillon a dozen years ago. By comparison, the state's largest quake which struck the West Yellowstone region 58-years ago was 7.2 magnitude.

The quake's epicenter was about 6 miles south of Lincoln, originating from a depth of nearly 3 miles underground, according to a preliminary report from the U.S. Geological Service.

Subsequently the USGS recorded seven more tremors in the same area within an hour of the initial quake, which ranged in magnitude from 4.9 to 3.8.

The quake which struck at 12:30 a.m. local time was strong enough to knock items off of walls and shelves in Helena and Missoula.  Some Twitter users posted feeling tremors as far as Spokane, Wash., Boise, Idaho and Calgary, Canada.

Mike Stickney, seismologist at the Earthquake Studies Office, Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology on the Montana Tech campus in Butte, said the quake was probably the strongest in Montana since October 1964. The location, he said, is not surprising. “It’s right along the axis of the intermountain seismic belt.” He said the quake occurred on a strike/slip fault, a vertical fault where one side moves horizontally against the other, similar to the kind of movement experienced along the San Andreas Fault in California.

That said, he said he "does not believe" the quake is seismically tied to the recent “swarm” of smaller earthquakes in the Yellowstone National Park area. “I don’t see any direct relationship between these two sequences,” he said. “This is a pretty sizeable earthquake. It would certainly have the potential to do structural damage near the epicenter, but we’ve had no reports indicating damage yet.” Others, however, disagree.

Residents in Lincoln briefly lost power and there was a gas leak in Helena, the National Weather Service in Great Falls said on Twitter. Lewis and Clark County Sheriff Leo Dutton said Lincoln lost electricity as a result of the quake, but the power has since been restored.

Lisa Large, a bartender at the Wheel Inn Tavern in Lincoln, said the power went out and bottles flew off the shelves when the earthquake hit. Other than that, she said, there wasn’t any major damage there. She was in a fairly jovial mood when called by a Missoulian reporter near closing time at 1:50 a.m. “It slopped all the grease outta the fryer,” she said. “The kitchen’s a mess right now. The lights have been out and they just came back on. Hopefully we don’t get any more aftershocks.”

Quoted by the Missoulian, Dutton said the fire chief in Lincoln was sending people out to check for damage, but they have not found any yet.  Missoula Police Department Corporal Mick McCarthy said the department has had calls from people asking what was going on with the earthquake and some medical calls, but no power outages reported or gas leaks. "No property damage reported yet, but it's still early," McCarthy said.

Ray Anderson, 76, told the Associated Press that it was the strongest quake he had ever felt.

Carolyn Kennedy, who lives in South Calgary, said she felt about 20 seconds “of waves” from the tremors. “We heard rumbling noises,” she messages FoxNews.com, adding that perfume bottles on her desk shook from the tremblor.

Twitter lit up around Montana seconds after the quake, with people weighing in from Bozeman to Kalispell to Glacier National Park to Billings and elsewhere in Montana.

"Did the entire state of Montana just have an earthquake?" tweeted Brandon Furr. Sean Ryan of Butte tweeted, "Now that everyone in Montana is awake from that earthquake ... you guys want to play Monopoly or something?" Glacier National Park account tweeted, "Western Montana just had a decent-sized earthquake. Good shake here at Park HQ in West Glacier #geology."

Musician John Mayer, a part-time Bozeman resident, took to Twitter to marvel at the event. "Wow," he wrote on Twitter. "Earthquake in Montana."

While minor earthquakes are fairly common, Thursday's moderate quake was the strongest felt in western Montana in two decades. The last one to exceed 5.0 magnitude was reported 12 years ago near Dillon, according to the USGS. Most of those incidents had epicenters farther south, many centering in the famously active Yellowstone National Park. In total, there have been more than 70 quakes measuring larger than 4.5 in Montana and parts of Wyoming and Idaho since 1925, according to the USGS. The largest quake in state history was magnitude 7.2 in 1959 near west Yellowstone.

The USGS reports the Lincoln quake was one of 20 within the last week and 236 within the last month.

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Raffie's picture

Just an earthquakes, they do happen.

Yellowstone is NOT GOING TO GO OFF, so relax.

About the same time a 6.9 hit the Philippines.

tmosley's picture

Death worshippers have been rebuked at every level, so now they must turn their adoration to something that can't be disproven.

Mtnrunnr's picture

there's a solar eclipse coming too, I hear that the aliens want us dead.

NoDebt's picture

I hope this doesn't end in an eruption wiping out the entire midwest like what happened after that big quake 58 years ago. 


Joe Davola's picture

"Lisa Large" - c'mon, if you're gonna fake news at least make the names a bit more believable;)

Fester's picture

Lisa Large, she's a big girl.

Slack Jack's picture

They are worried by an unlikely super-eruption when the really big problems of climate change stare them in the face.

So, why is the global rise in temperatures so worrisome?

For one thing, as temperatures rise good farmland will become desert (e.g., dust-bowl conditions will probably return to the American Midwest).

Another major problem is sea-level rise.

Have a look at http://pubs.usgs.gov/fs/fs2-00/

The U.S. Geological Survey people claim that;

The Greenland ice sheet melting will raise sea-level 6.55 meters (21.5 feet),
the West Antarctica ice sheet melting will raise sea-level 8.06 meters (26.4 feet),
the East Antarctica ice sheet melting will raise sea-level 64.8 meters (212.6 feet),
and all other ice melting will raise sea-level 0.91 meters (3 feet).

For a grand total of about 80.3 meters (263.5 feet).

So, what does an 80 meter (263 feet) rise in sea-level mean. Have a look at the following map of the world after an 80 meter rise. It means that over one billion people will have to be resettled to higher ground and that much of the most productive agricultural land will be under water. Fortunately, at current rates, the Greenland ice sheet will take over a thousand years to melt and the Antarctica ice sheet, much longer. However, the greater the temperature rise the faster the ice sheets will melt, bringing the problem much closer. Remember, the huge ice sheet that recently covered much of North America, almost completely melted in only 15,000 years (today, only the Greenland ice sheet, and some other small patches of it, remain). Since then (15,000 years ago), sea-levels have risen about 125 meters (410 feet), only 80 meters to go.

The ice sheets have been continuously melting for thousands of years. What is left of them today, is still melting, and will continue to melt. Human caused global warning will cause this remnant to melt significantly faster. This is a big, big, problem.

For HUGE detailed maps of the "World after the Melt" go to:


Déjà view's picture

If Jackson Hole meeting gets canceled...time for worry...

eclectic syncretist's picture

Paul Krugman wants this supervolcano to blow so bad he's giddy with excitement just thinking about all the broken windows and assorted catastrophic damage that will need to be repaired.

Pinto Currency's picture

Developer of Global Warming Hockey Stick Files Law Suit - Then Refuses to Turn Over His Data to Court



Says it all:

"... Penn State climate scientist, Michael ‘hockey stick’ Mann commits contempt of court in the ‘climate science trial of the century.’ Prominent alarmist shockingly defies judge and refuses to surrender data for open court examination. ..."


Manthong's picture


Heck, the scientists all say it is unlikely to wipe us out for at least 1,000 years.

..and Hawking says Trump will turn the Earth into Venus way before then.

Remain calm, all is well.


..I have to put out the recycle refuse now.


MillionDollarButter's picture

*Facepalm* Don't make this the pinned story, ZH. :-(

Not when you have something as newsworthy as the VIX breakout happening now.

Manthong's picture


“Michael ‘hockey stick’ Mann commits contempt of court.. shockingly defies judge”


That's because he knows they have him and his bogus tree ring data dead-to–rights.

I really hope Steyn takes him to the cleaners.




New_Meat's picture

I thought I'd lost all of the brain cells that contained any knowledge of FORTRAN 66.  Truly, I did my best to try.

The released FORTRAN from East Anglia where the data go through a "QA Process"--then the "QA'd data" get used but the "raw" data are never released?  ... hmmmm

Steyn won't let this one go with a request for a directed verdict, nosiree.  He'll have too much fun twisting this PoS into a pretzel.

Manthong's picture

Generating electricity for electric cars, battery manufacturing and disposal/recycling and photovoltaic cell manufacturing and disposal/recycling produces way more pollution than all of the SUV’s we can ever produce.

Good luck selling global warming during the upcoming few years of solar minimum.


The sheep and snowflakes out there need to wake up from their academia, government and corporate trance and do some critical thinking.


..or just retreat to their safe spaces.

Manthong's picture


At least the good thing about wind power is the tax credits, the millions of pesky birds killed and the enhancement of the sea or open land panorama.





Herd Redirection Committee's picture

There are estimated 400 billion birds on Earth...  Plus, how do we know those 39 million birds are dead?  They could just be pining for the fjords.

Automatic Choke's picture

What a load of crap.  Check the USGS quake maps.   This was nowhere near the Yellowstone caldera, different fault system.   This is an ordinary earthquake, of which there are regular scattered occurrences throughout the active mountains of the west.

Tyler, you are slipping.   Did you sell out to CNN?


Manthong's picture


“There are estimated 400 billion birds on Earth”

And it seems like most of them take aim at my car.

general ambivalent's picture

What critical thinking explains the lack of a winter in Canada the past two years?

Manthong's picture


Q: “What critical thinking explains the lack of a winter in Canada the past two years?”

A: The same critical thinking that understands climate is variable.

The same thinking understands that there was a year without a summer.

.. and that Greenland used to be green and will likely be green again someday.

..and that there was a Medieval Warm Period and a subsequent  Little Ice Age

..all of this prior to the industrial revolution and when my Jeep Grand Cherokee was made.


As Ann Barnhardt said in a YouTube directed at Mitt Romney in 2012, it is that 8 octillion ton gas ball in the sky that ultimately determines the climate.

yogibear's picture

Al Gore's  rapture was supposed to happen on September 13, 1988. A few fringe pastors were screaming that the end was nigh, that the righteous would soon disappear into the air while the rest of humanity was doomed to suffer a quite literal hell on earth. Forget the biblical admonition that no man knows the day nor hour of Christ’s return, these men had figured it out. It was time to prepare yourself.



JuliaS's picture

Green energy is a conversion scheme at best that only survives due to tremendous expenditures of fossil fuels that go into production and utilization of all these pretend-generators.

Wind, solar, nuclear even - none of them run off their own power. Oil digs, oil extracts, oil refines, melts and filters. Oil transports, oil combines, oil installs.

Take electricity a solar panel will produce through its lifecycle and see if you can make a solar panel out of it. Power the truck, the assembly line, the kiln that liquefies silicon etc. You'll see that the precious panel is no better than corn converted to ethanol. Sleight of hand and it is as if the power is miraculously green. No exhaust fumes, greenhouse gases. Pure magic!

... and nuclear - here's technology that can potentially destroy all life on earth to the point where it cannot come back even if every human being goes extinct. 3 large scale historical nuclear disasters and apparently we're still doing it. Nuclear waste? Can't get rid of it. Shooting stuff into space too dangerous, and expensive, so we sprinkle the planet with it - over the semi-liquid rock that can't even keep its tectonic plates together for a day.

Nuclear is green tech, alright - especially when you turn the lights off.

Barney Fife's picture

So in other words the raw data was "subjectively massaged"?

Manthong's picture


..kind of like this.

general ambivalent's picture

Drumpfstein literally had nothing to do with that. The investigation goes back years.

Nice fake news...

buttmint's picture

Lincoln, Montana ring a bell with many ZHers here?

That is where Ted Bundy the Unabomber holed up in his cabin.....

espirit's picture

Write stupid shit, win stupid prizes. 

canisdirus's picture

Kaczynski. Yes, I thought about this.

His cabin was south of Lincoln in this region.

a Smudge by any other name's picture

You guys are reassuring me. I thought there must be something wrong with me because the word "super" doesn't really do it for me. Not even "super-duper". If they had said "MEGA EXTRA BIGASS KISS IT GOODBYE, WE ARE ALL SO TOTALLY FUCKED" level of event I might have ascribed it with all the credibility of the ZH chat room.

PrayingMantis's picture


... while a supervolcano is threatening the midwest and global warming debates kick in, a German journalist released several images of a modern airbase that the US army has established in Northern Syria without the agreement of the Damascus government ... looks like Uncle Sam doesn't need any country's approval prior to setting up an airport ... extreme arrogance and exceptionalism, I suppose ...

>>> http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13960415000266 ...


U4 eee aaa's picture

Not a peep out of the worldwide socialist media regarding this

I love the reason that Mann sued:

Mann had sued Ball for daring to publish the damning comment that Mann “belongs in the state pen, not Penn. State.”


Cruel Joke's picture

Great news and a victory for Dr. Tim Ball. Everything Michael Mann says about the climate is a lie.

G-R-U-N-T's picture

Good job Pinto Currency, I've been following Tim Ball for years, a courageous man (pun intended) to be sure!

nink's picture

I wonder what the Frack is going on.  I am mining for some more info but can't dig it up.

unsafe-space-time's picture

Do you have an original thought in your head? We are still in an ice age. More heat means more moisture in the air means more rain means less drought. More heat means more air circulation means more heat goes to the poles. Extra co2 makes plants grow faster and more drought tolerant. How much Co2 does it take to increase temperature? Nobody knows. If global warming is true earth will be a paradise.

ImGumbydmmt's picture


even the FOUNDER of GREEN PEACE says more CO2 means greater plant life, greater harversts etc


Here in Oregon the cannibas growers sometimes buy CO2 tanks to enhance growth of their crop.



if sea levels rise, people displaced would be a HUUUGE economic BOOM for infrastructe, building indutry etc to relocate people,, and/or dyke systems like the Netherlands.

As an Architect, general contractor, and permaculture geek, I'm looking forward to global warming as a boon to my business and perosnal life.


Evidence that its even happening is STILL HIGHLY suspect.



Dabooda's picture

Displaced people bring prosperity?  Like broken windows bring prosperity? Read Bastiat on that one: http://bastiat.org/en/twisatwins.html

general ambivalent's picture

A paradise for nogs maybe. Why is it that only Americans deny climate change? And why do they resort to 'We Wuz Kangz N Sheeit' in every argument?

JuliaS's picture

Global warming (which happens naturally with or without human involvement) doesn't irrigate land equally. If it did, the land that emerged first from the last ice age - Africa, would've been an oasis. Sadly, it is not.

Changing climate (once again, not man-changed climate, but one that never remains consistent to begin with), simply changes things. Makes some areas more desirable, while destroying others.

Countries that benefit from warming are ones that have arable land locked up beneath the ice - Canada, Greenland and Russia. They have enough land to let the locals migrate around. Countries, on the other hand, that offer no path to the North are at a disadvantage.

Greenhouse gases do increase planetary metabolism, but it doesn't favor every specie equally. Someone gets more, someone gets less. Equilibrium re-balances, as it always does. If people were set up to deal with change, they'd be in less trouble. However, the world is ill-coupled to deal with even the slightest fluctuation in supposed constants. We pretend land mass is static, even though continents slowly drift around. Land mass rises and other places sink below the ocean. Change is the only thing this planet knows, but that wreaks havoc with our made-up rules. We live pretending that our comforts are eternal and we pass laws in order to maintain the illusion.

Lordflin's picture

The big problem with climate change are people such as yourselves... I was very dubious of this subject when it was first raised to me by friends (yeah, I actually had friends who read books) some forty five years ago... I am even less impressed now. If you want to worry about something tangible worry about the Fed, worry about the pedophiles in Washington with their hands on the trigger, worry about the fact that we could wake up any day now to a life ending war, worry about the fact that your kids and grand kids are being duped into believing ideas that will destroy rather than sustain them... climate change is way down on the list even if it was real... the chances of it being real are virtually none... and if it is real than its reality will be mere coincidence, as those pushing it are full of shit...

Snípéir_Ag_Obair's picture

well said, I'd add: were the Climate Chicken Littles basing their paranoia in science... they'd be as focused on expanding green/preserving rainforests and preventing pollution in the ocean...

But they scarcely EVER talk about trees and oceans role in trapping/converting atmospheric CO2.

Its not that its 'wrong' - CO2 does trap heat and in combination with less rainforest and less CO2 using ocean life, its very reasonable to suggest there'd be some net uptick in temp... everything being equal, which in terms of sun's output and earth's rotational wobble, and volcanic activity... etc it is not.

What it is though is a pseudoscientific moralizing cult. One that spends no time on the far graver and immediate dangers of industrial pollutants, overpopulation, and loss of ocean and large plant life.

Herd Redirection Committee's picture

The giveaway was always the 'solutions'  offered by 'scientists' and politicians.  They wanted to control every aspect of every individuals life, but leave untouched industrial pollution.  Then they suggested 'geo-engineering' the climate, completely oblivious to the fact that if you tamper with something you don't fully understand you will cause more problems than you solve! 

cougar_w's picture

It is real, and depending on where you live it might kill your adult children and grandchildren. But yes I see your point, way down on the list for you.