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Monthly update of activity at Yellowstone Volcano for Feb 1, 2023

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Winter has arrived in the Yellowstone region. The deep snow and cold temperatures are harsh for animals, harsh for humans, and also harsh for volcano monitoring equipment. To protect the instruments and keep data flowing, seismometers are buried, and solar panels and radio antennas are positioned high enough above ground to prevent them from getting covered in snow.

But the pole-like GPS antennas can become coated in ice during stormy weather. Once the antenna is covered, it can cause the signal to take a little longer to get to the antenna. So in the online data streams, the data might appear as though the ground went down, when really it was just ice on the antenna. When the ice goes away, the data pop back up to previous levels. Fortunately, there are so many GPS stations in the region that data from different sites can be used as a comparison to make sure the ground is not moving, and a quick check on the weather can confirm local conditions.

Mike Poland, scientist-in-charge of the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory, describes activity during the month of January in this monthly video update dated Feb 1, 2023:

  • the University of Utah Seismograph Stations located 75 earthquakes during the month. The largest was a magnitude 2.5 that occurred on January 5.
  • trends in deformation continue with about 2-3 centimeters (about 1 inch) per year of subsidence at the White Lake GPS station and the Mallard Lake resurgent dome. At Norris Geyser Basin, there hasn’t been much in the way of deformation (either up or down motion) over the past several months.
  • Steamboat Geyser had two water eruptions on January 5 and 28, 2023.

Yellowstone Volcano remains at normal, background levels of activity.

For questions email or visit the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory website.





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