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Yellowstone
green NORMAL, 2024-07-01 18:32:53 UTC

The Yellowstone Plateau volcanic field developed through three volcanic cycles that span two-million years. Two of the eruptions are considered some of the world's largest volcanic events. Yellowstone's youngest eruptions have been lava flows that remain confined to the caldera of present-day Yellowstone National Park. The 77,000 year-old Pitchstone Plateau flow is the volcano's most recent lava.

Quick Facts

Location: Wyoming and Montana

Latitude: 44.615° N

Longitude: 110.6° W

Elevation: 2,805 m / 9,203 f

Volcano type: Caldera

Composition: basalt to rhyolite

Most recent eruption: 70,000 years ago (lava), current hydrothermal explosions

Threat Potential: High*

*based on the National Volcano Early Warning System

Summary

The >2450 km3 (588 mi3) Huckleberry Ridge Tuff erupted about 2.1 million years ago, creating an approximately 75 km (47 mi) wide caldera and thick volcanic deposits. A second eruption cycle concluded with the much smaller Mesa Falls Tuff around 1.3 million years ago. Activity subsequently shifted to the present Yellowstone Plateau and culminated 640,000 years ago with the eruption of the >10003km (240 mi3) Lava Creek Tuff and consequent formation of the 45 x 85 km (28 x 53 mi) caldera. Large volumes of rhyolitic lava flows (approximately 600 km3 (144 mi3) were erupted in the caldera between 180,000 and 70,000 years ago, distributed primarily along two north-south alignments of vents.

No magmatic eruptions have occurred since then, but large hydrothermal explosions have taken place during the Holocene, including from within and near Yellowstone Lake. Uplift and subsidence of the ground surface is centered on two uplifted regions (the Mallard Lake and Sour Creek resurgent domes). Large earthquakes occur just off the plateau along the nearby Teton and Hebgen Lake faults, the latter of which ruptured in 1959 (Ms = 7.5), causing considerable damage to the region. Yellowstone is presently the site of one of the world's largest hydrothermal systems including Earth's largest concentration of geysers.

News

Solving the mystery of the “Pearlette volcanic ash”

Solving the mystery of the “Pearlette volcanic ash”

The hot and cold journey of silica begins in Yellowstone’s rhyolite and ends in geyser cones, petrified trees, and algae

The hot and cold journey of silica begins in Yellowstone’s rhyolite and ends in geyser cones, petrified trees, and algae

Earthquake focal mechanisms – life’s a beach(ball)

Earthquake focal mechanisms – life’s a beach(ball)

Publications

2018 update to the U.S. Geological Survey national volcanic threat assessment

When erupting, all volcanoes pose a degree of risk to people and infrastructure, however, the risks are not equivalent from one volcano to another because of differences in eruptive style and geographic location. Assessing the relative threats posed by U.S. volcanoes identifies which volcanoes warrant the greatest risk-mitigation efforts by the U.S. Geological Survey and its partners. This update

Authors
John W. Ewert, Angela K. Diefenbach, David W. Ramsey

Science

Questions About Monitoring Yellowstone

Answers to questions about monitoring at Yellowstone.
link

Questions About Monitoring Yellowstone

Answers to questions about monitoring at Yellowstone.
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Monitoring Earthquakes in Yellowstone National Park

The Yellowstone region is one of the most seismically active areas in the United States. It experiences an average of around 1,500 to 2,500 located earthquakes per year! The majority of these earthquakes are too small to be felt by humans but are detected by a sophisticated network of about 50 seismometers called the Yellowstone Seismic Network (YSN).
link

Monitoring Earthquakes in Yellowstone National Park

The Yellowstone region is one of the most seismically active areas in the United States. It experiences an average of around 1,500 to 2,500 located earthquakes per year! The majority of these earthquakes are too small to be felt by humans but are detected by a sophisticated network of about 50 seismometers called the Yellowstone Seismic Network (YSN).
Learn More

Monitoring Deformation in Yellowstone National Park

Movement of the ground in Yellowstone can tell scientists a lot about what’s happening below the surface. In order to monitor subtle “deformation” of the ground, YVO relies most heavily on Global Positioning System (GPS) stations, strainmeters, and tiltmeters, with instruments that are maintained by UNAVCO.
link

Monitoring Deformation in Yellowstone National Park

Movement of the ground in Yellowstone can tell scientists a lot about what’s happening below the surface. In order to monitor subtle “deformation” of the ground, YVO relies most heavily on Global Positioning System (GPS) stations, strainmeters, and tiltmeters, with instruments that are maintained by UNAVCO.
Learn More

Multimedia

Morning Glory Pool Was Blue? Morning Glory Pool Was Blue? (Yellowstone Monthly Update - July 2024)
Morning Glory Pool Was Blue? (Yellowstone Monthly Update - July 2024)
Animation of annual Yellowstone seismicity 2017-2023
Animation of annual Yellowstone seismicity 2017-2023
Animation of annual Yellowstone seismicity 2017-2023
Swimming Pools at Yellowstone? Swimming Pools at Yellowstone? (Yellowstone Monthly Update - June 2024)
Swimming Pools at Yellowstone? (Yellowstone Monthly Update - June 2024)
Infographic giving earthquake, deformation, thermal emission, and geyser statistics for the Yellowstone region for the year 2023
Infographic giving earthquake, deformation, thermal emission, and geyser statistics for the Yellowstone region for the year 2023
Infographic giving earthquake, deformation, thermal emission, and geyser statistics for the Yellowstone region for the year 2023
Front cover of the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory 2023 annual report
Front cover of the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory 2023 annual report
Front cover of the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory 2023 annual report
Mount St. Helens vs. Yellowstone Mount St. Helens VS Yellowstone (Yellowstone Monthly Update - May 2024)
Mount St. Helens VS Yellowstone (Yellowstone Monthly Update - May 2024)
Total electron content data at three GPS stations in Yellowstone National Park
Total electron content data at three GPS stations in Yellowstone National Park
Total electron content data at three GPS stations in Yellowstone National Park
History of travertine deposition in Yellowstone caldera and correlation with past climate conditions
History of travertine deposition in Yellowstone caldera and correlation with past climate conditions
History of travertine deposition in Yellowstone caldera and correlation with past climate conditions
Schematic illustrating the conditions under which some travertine forms in Yellowstone caldera
Schematic illustrating the conditions under which some travertine forms in Yellowstone caldera
Schematic illustrating the conditions under which some travertine forms in Yellowstone caldera