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Caldera Chronicles

Yellowstone Caldera Chronicles is a weekly column written by scientists and collaborators of the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory.

Caldera Chronicles

"Parkitecture” in Yellowstone

Visitors to many National Parks in the USA notice and enjoy the iconic buildings made with local materials. These structures are so unique that the style of architecture has its own nickname—“Parkitecture”. Where did this style come from, and how has it persevered over the last century in Yellowstone?

A new season of geoscience field work in Yellowstone!

May means the start of geological field work in Yellowstone, and the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory has a lot planned for 2022!

A Geological Excursion between Tower and Canyon Junctions in Yellowstone National Park

For the first time in two years, Yellowstone National Park visitors will be able to drive from Tower to Canyon Junctions across Dunraven Pass, now that road construction is complete.  The fascinating geology of this part of the park spans from well before Yellowstone’s recent volcanism to the latest glaciation of the region.

The Yellowstone Volcano Observatory 2021 annual report—available at a website near you!

The Yellowstone Volcano Observatory 2021 annual report has been published!  Your one-stop shop for the year that was in Yellowstone geological activity and research is now available online.

A 10,000-year history of geo-ecological change in Lower Geyser Basin

Today, Lower Geyser Basin in Yellowstone is a treeless plain characterized by steaming ground, geysers, and mudpots. But thousands of years ago, it was heavily forested with less hydrothermal activity. Lake sediments tell the tale.

Let’s Get into Hot Water

Deep beneath Yellowstone is a mysterious place, where water cannot penetrate and rocks flow like silly putty. Strange conditions exist in the deepest parts of Yellowstone’s hydrothermal system!

Practice makes better!

In February, 100 scientists got together to practice coordinating themselves during a pretend volcanic eruption.

Newly discovered (but not newly formed) thermal areas in Yellowstone

On the North side of the Mallard Lake resurgent dome there are several isolated thermal areas that were recently mapped using high-resolution visible satellite and aerial data.  These are not new thermal areas like the one near Tern Lake; instead, they have been there for decades but eluded our thermal-area mapping—until now.

Novel technique peeks beneath the ground at Yellowstone’s hot water plumbing system

What do the subsurface fluid pathways look like for all of the hot springs and geysers scattered throughout Yellowstone?  A new set of data from an aerial electromagnetic survey provides a new perspective on this age-old question.

Two Ocean Pass—A place where fish can swim over the Continental Divide!

Near the southern boundary of Yellowstone National Park is a curious location—a pass on the Continental Divide that is so gentle, fish can swim across, moving from the Pacific to the Atlantic watershed!

The Exploration of Yellowstone

The isolated and rugged Yellowstone region remained a “hole” in the map of North America until the 1870s.  Indigenous North Americans knew the area well, but it was one of the last places on the continent to be explored by Euro-Americans.

Ground deformation at Yellowstone: How does it compare to other calderas?

It’s common knowledge that the ground at Yellowstone goes up and down over time. Since 1923, the center of the caldera has risen overall by nearly 3 feet!  But how does Yellowstone stack up against other calderas around the world?