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Some people have recently written about the swarm of earthquakes at Yellowstone that have occurred over the past several days [see here and here, for example, but there may be others I don't know about].

The subject interested me so I thought I would look at the data more closely.

The raw data can be found here.  I downloaded it, and have been downloading it for several days.  Some of what I have, referenced in the graph below, may have fallen off the bottom of the USGS page.

A graph of the data is referenced below the fold.  The patterns are interesting and they are developing.  Stay tuned, I think.

Please keep in mind that I know little or nothing about volcanoes or earthquakes, but I have used Excel for a number of years to analyze data of all sorts for various reasons.  Thus, the tabular data of the USGS was too great a temptation.

I am only presenting one graph and one conditional prediction.  In other words, I have no idea if there are going to be more swarms of quakes at Yellowstone, but if they do occur and if they occur conforming to the patterns so far evident then they will occur tomorrow evening at about 1900 to 2400 UTC.

Here is the chart of all the quakes since noon UTC, December 27.  [Flickr lets you vary the size of the image by clicking on the "ALL SIZES" button over the image.]

Because Kos does not wish images wider than 500 pixels to be displayed and because this graph is already squeezed too far, I have provided a link to it rather than embed it. [Thanks to carcas for the tip.]

As you can see, there have been three swarms of quakes since noon UTC, on 12/27. [Please note that time moves forward up along the Y-axis and depth increases to the right along the X-axis.  Also, different colors mean different magnitudes of quake pursuant to the legend.]

Each swarm has become better defined in time, and each has followed its precursor by about 36 hours.

You can also see the first two swarms had clouds of smaller quakes between two and three km depth. The last swarm, however, was different in that all the various magnitudes of quakes occurred throughout the column and all of them occurred in a narrower window of time.

So, if this is a pattern [and I have no idea if it is] then tomorrow should be interesting.  

Lastly, this may be an artifact of many things.  For example, I have no way of knowing if the good folks at USGS have put up all the data.  I have no way of knowing if their equipment detects all the quakes, or if their clocks are accurate, etc etc etc.

Any pattern in nature is interesting, as long as it is not too interesting.  Hopefully, there will be no more quakes, and if there aren't, it is still an interesting pattern.

UPDATE:  the link to the graph should work now.  Sorry.  Amateur, like I said.

Originally posted to PhotogHog on Wed Dec 31, 2008 at 05:15 PM PST.

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