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Preliminary Assessment of Volcanic and Hydrothermal Hazards in Yellowstone National Park and Vicinity

March 31, 2007

Possible future violent events in the active hydrothermal, magmatic, and tectonic system of Yellowstone National Park pose potential hazards to park visitors and infrastructure. Most of the national park and vicinity are sparsely populated, but significant numbers of people as well as park resources could nevertheless be at risk from these hazards. Depending on the nature and magnitude of a particular hazardous event and the particular time and season when it might occur, 70,000 to more than 100,000 persons could be affected; the most violent events could affect a broader region or even continent-wide areas. This assessment of such hazards is presented both as a guide for future activities of the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory (YVO) and to aid appropriate response planning by the National Park Service and surrounding agencies and communities. Although the assessment is presented here in some technical detail, this summary is intended to be understandable to non-scientists. The principal conclusions also will be made available in other forms, more accessible to general readers.