Yellowstone Volcano Observatory

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Date published: September 20, 2021

Taking Yellowstone seismology to the classroom for some “deep learning”

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!

Date published: September 13, 2021

Scientists can now “sniff” Yellowstone gases in real time

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.

Date published: September 6, 2021

Silver Gate—the Mammoth Terraces of yesteryear!

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.

Date published: August 30, 2021

Locating earthquakes in the Yellowstone region

Ever wonder how seismologists determine the location of an earthquake in Yellowstone?  It’s an intricate process, but thanks to experienced scientists, up to thousands of earthquakes are located in the Yellowstone region every year!

Date published: August 23, 2021

Volcano deformation: What and why?

The ground surface at Yellowstone goes up and down.  Since 2015 the caldera has been going down at a rate of about 2–3 cm—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…

Date published: August 16, 2021

Borehole instruments: The hidden component of geophysical monitoring in Yellowstone

When it comes to data, Yellowstone 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.

Date published: August 9, 2021

Where is the volcano?

Visitors to Yellowstone ask a lot of questions! So how do park rangers answer when they are asked, “where is the volcano?”

Date published: August 2, 2021

Relics of past earthquakes: How the 1959 Hebgen Lake M7.3 earthquake may continue to influence Yellowstone seismicity today

The M7.3 Hebgen Lake earthquake in 1959 is one of the two the 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.

Date published: July 26, 2021

“Land of the burning ground”: The history and traditions of Indigenous people in Yellowstone

We sometimes think of Yellowstone as an untouched landscape, but humans have been present in the area for over ten thousand years!  The history and traditions of Indigenous people in Yellowstone are as rich as the landscape itself.

Date published: July 19, 2021

Yellowstone’s sibling in the southern hemisphere: Taupō, New Zealand

Yellowstone is not the only large caldera system in the world.  Indeed, caldera systems can be found all over the planet!  In New Zealand, the Taupō caldera system shares many similarities with Yellowstone—a history of large eruptions, geysers and hot springs, and even earthquake swarms and ground deformation, some of which might be related to magmatic intrusions.

Date published: July 12, 2021

An outlier of Yellowstone's thermal areas: the travertine of Mammoth Hot Springs

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.

Date published: July 5, 2021

Photo and Video Chronology – Kīlauea – July 2, 2021

Kīlauea's summit is no longer erupting; lava supply to the Halemaʻumaʻu lava lake has ceased and sulfur dioxide emissions have decreased to near pre-eruption background levels. HVO field crews—equipped with specialized safety gear—monitor for new changes from within the closed area of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park with NPS permission.