Yu’s research found that the volcano in central Utah was still active, but there was no evidence of an impending eruption

Salt Lake City – University of Utah researchers say the unusual series of earthquakes that occurred in central Utah in 2018 and 2019 is a reminder of Utah’s ancient volcanoes in a vibrant region. Fortunately, they said there were no signs of an imminent outbreak.

Search it It was first published in Geophysical Research Letters last month, Centered around a pair of strange earthquake chains in the Blackstone Desert near Fillmore. One earthquake occurred in central Utah on September 12, 2018, and another occurred on April 14, 2019. Earthquakes measuring 4.0 and 4.1 on the Richter scale were recorded, respectively, and produced several aftershocks.

The location of the second earthquake was the Black Rock Desert volcanic field located in central Utah between I-15 and the Utah-Nevada state line. The last volcanic area erupted nearly 720 years ago, giving rise to basalt cones and glacial springs. According to the United States Geological Survey.

In addition to the earthquakes detected by the Utah Regional Seismic Network, the quakes were captured by temporary seismic equipment that was used less than 20 miles from the desert to monitor geothermal wells for different projects.

A team of researchers from the University of Utah, USGS and the University of Iowa worked on the data analysis. Temporary equipment helped detect 35 aftershocks following the 2019 earthquake, which is nearly double that detected by a typical system.

They found that the quake was a mile and a half below the surface, which is very shallow for an earthquake. For example, files An earthquake measuring 5.7 rocked Wasatch’s front It happened last year about 6 miles below the earth’s surface. The 2018 and 2019 central Utah earthquakes were not linked to the Magna earthquake, the largest earthquake to hit Utah since 1992.

Map of volcanic fields in the Black Rock Desert.  The orange triangle shows the location of the University of Utah seismograph station and the black dot shows the location of the Utah earthquake.
Map of volcanic fields in the Black Rock Desert. The orange triangle shows the location of the University of Utah seismograph station and the black dot shows the location of the Utah earthquake. (Image: University of Utah)

In addition, earthquakes have not yet produced the “shear waves” that are typical of earthquakes in Utah. Maria Missimiri, a postdoctoral researcher at the seismograph station at the University of Utah and lead author of the study, said the frequency of seismic energy was also much lower than that of a typical Utah earthquake. In a press release Tuesday.

“Because the earthquake was so shallow, we were able to measure the surface deformation (due to the earthquake) using satellites, which is very rare in earthquakes of this size,” he said.

The data led researchers to believe that the earthquakes were not caused by crashing faults like most Utah earthquakes. Instead, they said their research showed that these earthquakes were the result of ongoing activity in the volcanic fields beneath the desert.

Mesimeri said the two quakes were most likely caused by magma or hot water approaching the surface and causing the quake.

“Our findings suggest that the system is still active and that the earthquake may have been the result of fluid-related movement in a general area,” he said. “Earthquakes can be the result of fluid pressure across rocks or the result of deformation from fluid motion stressing surface fractures.”

The good news, he added, is that there is no reason to believe that the recent earthquake was a warning sign of an eruption. That means it’s a site that researchers might want to be more interested in paying attention to.

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