Media coverage of an incident in Grand Teton National Park on July 10, helped to stoke fears that Yellowstone park was about to erupt in an apocalyptic blaze. For example, Fox News ran a headline that read “Part of Grand Teton National Park near Yellowstone super volcano closed after massive fissure opens” a headline from British outlet Express read “Yellowstone Volcano Latest: 100 foot fissure sparks Urgent park closure.”

Despite the exuberant coverage, Geologist and Director of Earthquake studies at the Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology Mike Stickney says the incident in Grand Teton National Park isn’t connected to the Yellowstone super volcano.

"It was a large mass of rock that was up on one of the buttresses on the front of the mountain range that has shifted a little bit under, apparently, its own weight as is common in mountains areas with steep canyon walls," Stickney said. "It was perhaps an eminent rock fall, or rock slide, but it has nothing to do with Yellowstone or vulcanism."

When it comes to earthquakes in Montana, Stickney says most of what has been measured this this year are aftershocks from an older incident.

"We've seen lots of small events which is typical, still a few aftershocks from the Lincoln earthquake that occurred a year ago, but they are becoming less frequent and they are almost all small," Stickney said. "I'm using the Dillon earthqake of 2005 as, kind of, an analog and there we saw aftershocks for about ten years after the big one."

Stickney says so far 2018 has been a “pretty typical, average year” for earthquakes with just a few events that could even be felt.

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