Caldera Chronicles

Caldera Chronicles is a weekly article written by U.S. Geological Survey Yellowstone Volcano Observatory scientists and colleagues.


Filter Total Items: 213
Date published: October 18, 2021

Temperature Loggers Shed Light on Past and Future Yellowstone Geyser Activity

Selected hydrothermal features at Yellowstone National Park have data loggers that capture geyser eruption times. A systematic analysis of these data can reveal variations in geyser activity over time and between different geyser basins.

Date published: October 11, 2021

Henrys Fork Caldera: A glimpse into one possible future for Yellowstone

What will happen to Yellowstone once its rhyolite magma system shuts down? To understand the future, geologists look to the past—in this case, to Yellowstone Caldera’s older but smaller sibling, Henrys Fork Caldera!

Date published: October 4, 2021

A step-by-step guide for accessing satellite images of Yellowstone

Have you ever wanted to get your own visible and thermal infrared satellite images of Yellowstone?  They are relatively easy to find and download, all for free!

Date published: September 27, 2021

How and why do we collect sediment cores in Yellowstone Lake?

In August 2021, YVO scientists collected sediment cores from the floor of Yellowstone Lake. Analysis of the sediment composition, as well as the fluids contained within the sediment, can provide new information about hydrothermal activity occurring out of view beneath the lake water.

Date published: September 20, 2021

Taking Yellowstone seismology to the classroom for some “deep learning”

Locating earthquakes in Yellowstone is a time-intensive process that requires the trained eye and extensive experience of a human analyst. But advances in computer algorithms, known as “machine learning” tools, hold promise for automatically locating earthquakes that might otherwise be overlooked, and the dawn of a new age in seismology!

Date published: September 13, 2021

Scientists can now “sniff” Yellowstone gases in real time

Much is known about how the chemical compositions of gases vary across the Yellowstone volcanic system, but how they vary in time has remained largely a mystery.  Our understanding should greatly improve with a recent installation of a station that continuously monitors gases and communicates those data in real time.

Date published: September 6, 2021

Silver Gate—the Mammoth Terraces of yesteryear!

Just south of Mammoth Hot Springs, near the north entrance of Yellowstone National Park, lies a jumble of white/gray rock known as the Hoodoos or, more formally, Silver Gate.  The origin of this deposit is a quintessential tale of the dynamic nature of Yellowstone.

Date published: August 30, 2021

Locating earthquakes in the Yellowstone region

Ever wonder how seismologists determine the location of an earthquake in Yellowstone?  It’s an intricate process, but thanks to experienced scientists, up to thousands of earthquakes are located in the Yellowstone region every year!

Date published: August 23, 2021

Volcano deformation: What and why?

The ground surface at Yellowstone goes up and down.  Since 2015 the caldera has been going down at a rate of about 2–3 cm—about 1 inch—per year, but during 2004 –2010 the caldera uplifted at a similar rate. What causes these ups and downs? Well…it’s complicated…

Date published: August 16, 2021

Borehole instruments: The hidden component of geophysical monitoring in Yellowstone

When it comes to data, Yellowstone is a geophysicist’s dream. There is continuous activity from earthquakes, geysers, and of course, the volcano itself. A keen eye may be able to spot one of the park’s numerous GPS or seismometer stations hard at work, but some of the park’s data collectors are buried deep within the Earth, hidden from sight in boreholes.

Date published: August 9, 2021

Where is the volcano?

Visitors to Yellowstone ask a lot of questions! So how do park rangers answer when they are asked, “where is the volcano?”

Date published: August 2, 2021

Relics of past earthquakes: How the 1959 Hebgen Lake M7.3 earthquake may continue to influence Yellowstone seismicity today

The M7.3 Hebgen Lake earthquake in 1959 is one of the two the largest recorded earthquakes in the entire Intermountain West of the United States.  We might still be seeing aftershocks from that event in what today is the most seismically active area of the Yellowstone region.