YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, Wyo. - Scientists have formally recognized a network of earthquake monitoring efforts in and around Yellowstone National Park as an observatory.

The designation puts Yellowstone seismic research on a level with volcano observatories in Hawaii, Alaska, California and Washington, National Park Service officials said.

The Yellowstone Volcano Observatory is a collection of monitoring efforts undertaken by the National Park Service, the University of Utah and the U.S. Geological Survey.

As part of the designation, scientists plan to share their research and any earthquake warnings in Yellowstone with the public.

Dr. Paul Doss, the observatory's coordinating scientist, said interest in researching Yellowstone seismic activity has grown over the past decade, partly because technology is more precise.

Yellowstone and the surrounding area encompass the largest volcanic system in North America. Over 2 million years, volcanic activity has created the geysers, boiling springs and mud pots that attract tourists to Yellowstone. Lately scientists have found areas in Yellowstone that have risen by three feet and dropped by a foot because of seismic movements, scientists said.

In 1959, an earthquake northwest of the park at Hebgen Lake killed 28 people. It was one of the 15 strongest quakes ever recorded in the United States.

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