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Monthly update of activity at Yellowstone Volcano, May 1, 2023

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May is traditionally the start of the field season and plans are underway to strengthen monitoring networks, collect data, and conduct research to better understand volcanic activity in the Yellowstone region. Mike Poland, scientist-in-charge of the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory, outlines upcoming projects in this YVO monthly video update for May 1, 2023.

  • As soon as the snow melts out, field teams will deploy temporary (summer-only) semi-permanent GPS stations to densify the GPS network;
  • Throughout the year, researchers will focus on hydrothermal explosion craters like Mary Bay, Turbid Lake, and Pocket Basin (where water flashed to steam) to understand more about Yellowstone’s most frequent volcanic hazard;
  • Geologists will be in the field looking at the Lava Creek Tuff, created during the last big caldera-forming eruption in Yellowstone some 631,000 years ago;
  • YVO also has plans to install a new monitoring site in the Norris Geyser Basin. While the region is very well covered in terms of low-level seismicity and ground deformation, YVO would like to do a better job of understanding geysers. The new site in Norris Geyser Basin will be able to locate small earthquakes, detect ground deformation, and also “listen” to geysers using a microphone that detects low-frequency acoustic energy. Hopefully, this site will become a blueprint for monitoring geyser basins in Yellowstone and yield new insights into how geyser systems work.

View the field plans are part of the Volcano and Earthquake Monitoring Plan for the Yellowstone Caldera System 2022–2032.

During the month of April 2023, the University of Utah Seismograph Stations, which monitors and operates the Yellowstone seismic network, located 168 earthquakes. Deformation trends continue, with overall subsidence of about three centimeters (a little more than one inch) per year, and very little deformation in the Norris Geyser Basin. There were no recorded Steamboat Geyser water eruptions. Yellowstone Volcano remains at normal, background levels of activity.




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