Have you ever wanted to get your own visible and thermal infrared satellite images of Yellowstone? They are relatively easy to find and download, all for free.
In August 2021, YVO scientists collected sediment cores from the floor of Yellowstone Lake. Analysis of the sediment composition, as well as the fluids contained within the sediment, can provide new information about hydrothermal activity occurring out of view beneath the lake water.
Selected hydrothermal features at Yellowstone National Park have data loggers that capture geyser eruption times. A systematic analysis of these data can reveal variations in geyser activity over time and between different geyser basins.
Locating earthquakes in Yellowstone is a time-intensive process that requires the trained eye and extensive experience of a human analyst. But advances in computer algorithms, known as “machine learning” tools, hold promise for automatically locating earthquakes that might otherwise be overlooked, and the dawn of a new age in seismology.
Much is known about how the chemical compositions of gases vary across the Yellowstone volcanic system, but how they vary in time has remained largely a mystery. Our understanding should greatly improve with a recent installation of a station that continuously monitors gases and communicates those data in real time.
Just south of Mammoth Hot Springs, near the north entrance of Yellowstone National Park, lies a jumble of white/gray rock known as the Hoodoos or, more formally, Silver Gate. The origin of this deposit is a quintessential tale of the dynamic nature of Yellowstone.
Ever wonder how seismologists determine the location of an earthquake in Yellowstone National Park? It’s an intricate process, but thanks to experienced scientists, thousands of earthquakes are located in the Yellowstone region every year.
The ground surface at Yellowstone National Park goes up and down. Since 2015 the caldera has been going down at a rate of about 2–3 centimeters — about 1 inch — per year, but during 2004 –2010 the caldera uplifted at a similar rate. What causes these ups and downs? Well, it’s complicated.
When it comes to data, Yellowstone National Park is a geophysicist’s dream. There is continuous activity from earthquakes, geysers, and of course, the volcano itself. A keen eye may be able to spot one of the park’s numerous GPS or seismometer stations hard at work, but some of the park’s data collectors are buried deep within the Earth, hidden from sight in boreholes.
The U.S. Geological Survey, issuing a "red alert" for the disaster, estimated fatalities could stretch into the thousands. Here's what's known so far.
Visitors to Yellowstone National Park ask a lot of questions. So how do park rangers answer when they are asked, “Where is the volcano?”
The M7.3 Hebgen Lake earthquake in 1959 is one of the two largest recorded earthquakes in the entire Intermountain West of the United States. We might still be seeing aftershocks from that event in what today is the most seismically active area of the Yellowstone region.
We sometimes think of Yellowstone as an untouched landscape, but humans have been present in the area for over 10,000 years. The history and traditions of indigenous people in Yellowstone are as rich as the landscape itself.
Other large caldera systems exist all around the planet, and many are “restless” and have had geologically recent eruptions. Taupō, in New Zealand, is one such system and is a good analog for Yellowstone in many ways.
Early explorers during the separate Washburn, Hayden and Hague expeditions of the 1870s were astonished by the massive terraces and pools of hot-spring limestone, better known as travertine, at Mammoth Hot Springs — a chemical oddity that is quite different from other Yellowstone thermal areas.
Small hydrothermal explosions — steam blasts — are common at Yellowstone National Park, occurring every year or two. Most happen in the backcountry and are not observed by people. In 1989, however, Porkchop Geyser blew up right in front of several observers on an otherwise sunny September afternoon.
At Yellowstone, for example, the last magmatic eruption was a lava flow that occurred about 70,000 years ago, but the area is home to one of the most vigorous hydrothermal systems on Earth.
Henry Wood Elliott was a dedicated conservationist and explorer who, in 1871, helped create the first bathymetric map of Yellowstone Lake. Unlike many of his contemporaries, however, he declined to leave his name on any feature in Yellowstone. Geologists now honor Elliott’s legacy by referring to a very large explosion crater beneath Yellowstone Lake as Elliott’s Crater.
For half the year Yellowstone National Park is largely inaccessible to geologists, buried under snow and ice and subject to fierce storms. By May, however, improved weather and melting snow opens the park to field work. The 2021 field season promises to be a productive one for the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory.
Yellowstone Volcano Observatory scientists investigate many aspects of the Yellowstone volcanic system, including the incredible geysers that are the highlight of any visit to the park. After witnessing a geyser eruption, many visitors begin to wonder about some aspects of these incredible phenomena. One question — “how tall was that?” — can be answered by anybody with a few simple tools.
Interested in knowing more about Yellowstone geyser, seismic and deformation activity in 2020? How about the results of research conducted by the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory? Look no further — the 2020 Yellowstone Volcano Observatory annual report is now online.
A small side road on the highway between Mammoth Hot Springs and Norris Junction leads to Sheepeater Cliffs, a spectacular example of columnar jointing in a lava flow.
Yellowstone is dotted with historic places. But did you know that the oldest building still standing, built 140 years ago, was constructed because of a thermal spring?
While geysers and hot springs are relatively easy to find in Yellowstone, what about the caldera, and the lava flows and the two massive resurgent domes that formed after the caldera erupted? They’re there. You just need to know where to look.
Yes, some of Yellowstone’s thermal areas are cool — as in, no longer hot. Cooling is part of the life cycle of a thermal area. And just as it’s important to keep track of where thermal areas warm up, it’s also important to keep track of where they are cooling down.