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Yellowstone Volcano Observatory 2017 annual report

November 18, 2019

The Yellowstone Volcano Observatory (YVO) monitors volcanic and hydrothermal activity associated with the Yellowstone magmatic system, conducts research into magmatic processes occurring beneath Yellowstone Caldera, and issues timely warnings and guidance related to potential future geologic hazards. This report summarizes the activities and findings of YVO during the year 2017, focusing on the Yellowstone magmatic system. The most noteworthy event of the year was the Maple Creek earthquake swarm of June–September, about 15 kilometers north-northwest of West Yellowstone, Montana. Over 2,400 earthquakes were located, including a felt magnitude 4.4 earthquake on June 15. Deformation was mostly consistent throughout the year, with uplift of the Norris Geyser Basin area and subsidence of the caldera, both at rates of a few centimeters per year. The only significant interruption in this pattern was an ~2-week period of subsidence at Norris Geyser Basin in early December, after which deformation returned to uplift. Field work in 2017, conducted under research permits granted by the National Park Service, included routine maintenance visits to seismic and geodetic stations as well as deployment of a semipermanent Global Positioning System network during the summer months, installation of Multi-GAS and eddy covariance systems for tracking gas emissions at the Solfatara Plateau thermal area, deployment of a nodal seismic array in Upper Geyser Basin, and collection of gas and water samples from Boundary Creek on the western side of Yellowstone National Park.