Yellowstone Volcano Observatory

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Date published: June 22, 2020

Gases released from Yellowstone volcano provides clues to Earth's formation

With oceans covering over 70% of Earth's surface and an atmosphere rich in volatile elements (carbon, nitrogen and oxygen), Earth has seemingly always provided the perfect environment for life to develop in the Solar System. But how and when did these volatiles arrive on the planet? It turns out, the answer lies buried thousands of kilometers deep below Yellowstone National Park.

Date published: June 15, 2020

Jim Bridger: Yellowstone’s Spinner of Tall Tales

The American West is a land filled with tales of adventure and discovery. Countless stories of brave frontiersman and frontierswoman are still told around the campfire today. But the stories of one mountain man stand out among the rest. A spinner of tall tales and a man of mystery, James Felix “Jim” Bridger conquered the Rocky Mountain region and lived to tell the tale.

Date published: June 8, 2020

YVO welcomes Montana State University to the team!

Since 2013, the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory has been a consortium of 8 institutions—a mix of state and federal agencies and academic institutions.  Today, we are pleased to announce the addition of a 9th member of the consortium: Montana State University!

Date published: June 1, 2020

Yellowstone Monthly Update - June 2020

Yellowstone Volcano remains at GREEN/NORMAL. Yellowstone National Park is open and seasonal field work began last month. The University of Utah Seismograph Stations located 288 earthquakes in May that occurred as part of three swarms. Ground deformation remains unchanged from last month.

Date published: June 1, 2020

New interactive map on Yellowstone’s geology

Are you interested in Yellowstone’s dynamic geology? Do you like maps? If the answer to both questions is “yes,” then you’ll love a new online interactive map from the Wyoming State Geological Survey!

Date published: May 25, 2020

Aftershocks? Swarm? What is the difference, and what do they mean?

In Yellowstone, we often talk about earthquake swarms.  But especially in recent weeks, we’ve also discussed aftershock sequences.  What is the difference?  And what to these different types of seismic events mean?

Date published: May 4, 2020

New geochemical tool reveals origin of Yellowstone's deep nitrogen

In the air we breathe, Oxygen plays an obvious and important role, but it is not the most abundant gas in the atmosphere. That honor belongs to nitrogen. But where did this nitrogen come from? And how much nitrogen is there deep within the Earth? It turns out that measurements at Yellowstone are helping to address these questions and others!

Date published: April 27, 2020

Science with eyes wide open: A tribute to Ken Pierce

Have you ever tried to keep track of all the pieces while playing 3-dimensional chess? Imagine if the 4th dimension—time—was included, and the goal was to understand the evolution of the entire Greater Yellowstone Geoecosystem! That's an apt analogy for the 55-year research career of USGS Scientist Emeritus Ken Pierce.

Date published: April 20, 2020

The shaking signal of far-away earthquakes at Yellowstone

Two pretty good-sized earthquakes shook the western U.S. in March, a M5.7 in Utah and a M6.5 in Idaho. These quakes not only shook up the people living in those regions, they shook instruments that are part of the Network of the Americas (NOTA)—a network of deformation monitoring stations throughout the USA and beyond that is operated by UNAVCO. This includes instruments in Yellowstone!

Date published: April 13, 2020

Founding the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory

Before YVO's founding, research had been conducted on the volcanism and tectonics of the Yellowstone region since the 1960s by the University of Utah, U.S. Geological Survey and Yellowstone National Park. A meeting in the year 2000 spurred a fruitful conversation, and by 2001 the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory was born.

Date published: April 6, 2020

What's with all these earthquakes? And will they affect Yellowstone?

First, there was the March 18, 2020, magnitude 5.7 (M5.7) earthquake near Salt Lake City. And then there was the M6.5 earthquake in central Idaho on March 31. What's with all of these quakes? And will they affect Yellowstone?