Sent in from a reader: “Shishaldin volcano is shaking in the [Alaska] Aleutian chain. Anything connected to Denali also affects Yellowstone.”
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Alaskan Earthquakes affect Yellowstone
A brief excursion to Alaska illustrates the interactivity of tectonic plates, in this case the North American plate. According to reports in 2002 a major earthquake in Alaska set off a chain of smaller earthquakes in the Yellowstone National Park more than 2,000 miles away. Within hours geysers in the park changed their eruption patterns, according to the journal “Geology”. Researchers believe that earthquakes keep geysers alive by periodically shaking loose clogged channels. The Alaskan earthquake was one of the strongest in North America in the past 150 years.
Thousand smaller quakes
Robert Smith of the University of Utah says that this study shows that large earthquakes at large distances can have profound effects on the Yellowstone geysers and that they did not expect to see these prolonged changes in the hydrothermal system. The geysers showed changes just a few hours after the shock waves from the 3 November Alaskan earthquake passed through triggering more than a thousand minor local earthquakes with the shock waves, many of them near hot springs and geysers, altering water and steam pressure in the geysers, opening new channels and unclogging others.