Yellowstone Volcano Observatory


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Date published: July 8, 2019

Will the southern California earthquakes cause Yellowstone to erupt? Spoiler alert: no.

Yellowstone Caldera Chronicles is a weekly column written by scientists and collaborators of the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory. This week's contribution is from Mike Poland, geophysicist with the U.S. Geological Survey and Scientist-in-Charge, of the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory.

Date published: July 1, 2019

How old is Yellowstone Caldera's current magma reservoir, and how do we know?

How long has the magma chamber existed? And how can we explore such a complex question, given that we can't directly see several kilometers deep beneath the ground? It turns out that, in a way, we can use a crystal ball to look back in time at Yellowstone's magma chamber—a zircon crystal ball!

Date published: June 24, 2019

How do geysers work? Knowledge gained from two centuries of scientific research and observations

Have you ever wondered why geysers are rare and what causes them to erupt? And why scientists study geysers?

Date published: June 17, 2019

Montana State University takes on Yellowstone National Park

During the Spring term in 2019, geology students from Montana State University participated in a reading group focused on understanding the geology of the Yellowstone hotspot. The culmination of the class was a field trip into Yellowstone National Park to see first-hand the deposits that had been discussed throughout the semester.

Date published: June 10, 2019

The Real Hazards of Yellowstone

Here at YVO we receive a lot of questions related to Yellowstone supereruption "what ifs" and "whens", even though that is the least possible scenario for future volcanic activity. News articles, websites, and videos often exaggerate the rarest events, while ignoring hazards that may actually happen during a person's life.

Date published: June 3, 2019

Yellowstone's many faults (don't blame the volcano for everything, though!)

The faults in Yellowstone National Park vary greatly in age and how they formed, and they can be divided into two groups: relatively young faults that have been active in the last 1.6 million years of Earth's history, and older faults that are no longer active. Earthquakes are often associated with many of the younger faults in the park.

Date published: May 27, 2019

Tis the season…for field work in Yellowstone!

The month of May marks the start of many field studies for scientists affiliated with the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory (YVO).

Date published: May 20, 2019

Colter's Hell: Tales of the First European-American to Step Foot in Yellowstone

Imagine for a moment that you could turn back the clock some two-hundred years or so and embark on a journey from east to west across the North American continent. Imagine that you had never heard of Yellowstone, or geysers and hot springs, and as far as you were concerned nature was epitomized by the patchy, deciduous forests and rolling hills of the Appalachian Mountains.

Date published: May 13, 2019

Feeling petrified! Evidence of Yellowstone's distant volcanic past found in rocks and trees

Much is known about volcanism occurring from Yellowstone within the past 2 million years, but many people are not aware that this landscape was also profoundly shaped by much older volcanism. Fifty million years ago, the Absaroka Volcanic Field dominated the region that is now Yellowstone National Park. Today, you can explore extensive fossil forests resulting from this explosive past.

Date published: May 6, 2019

The National Volcano Early Warning System (NVEWS) will help USGS better monitor nation’s most dangerous volcanoes

In September 2004, USGS scientists detected sudden, but unmistakable, signs that Mount St. Helens was waking up. Volcano monitors had picked up the occurrence of hundreds of small earthquakes and other signals that the volcano’s crater floor had begun to rise. Within a week, several eruptions blasted clouds of ash into the atmosphere, and soon after, a new lava dome emerged in the crater.

Date published: May 6, 2019

InSAR, the Magic Deformation Camera That No One Saw Coming

Toting their surveying instruments to the tops of mountains or across continents, ancient (20th century) geodesists might have dreamed of an easier way to measure precise locations and track changes in ground motion over time. Today that dream has been realized with GPS and InSAR.

Date published: May 3, 2019

CalVO researchers collaborate with Yellowstone Volcano Observatory to determine rhyolite lava eruption intervals in caldera

In addition to studying volcanic processes and their associated hazards in California and Nevada, scientists at the California Volcano Observatory also collaborate with other volcano observatories to work on volcanic processes throughout the United States.