Caldera Chronicles

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


Filter Total Items: 219
Date published: July 13, 2020

What Goes into Operating the Yellowstone Seismic Network?

Have you ever wondered just what went in to going from ground shaking detected by a seismometer to a located earthquake available for viewing online?  In this week’s Yellowstone Caldera Chronicles, we trace the path from the ground in Yellowstone to your web browser!

Date published: July 6, 2020

What's the story, Morning Glory?

Yellowstone's Upper Geyser Basin is one of the truly unique places on Earth. It contains the world's highest concentration of geysers, including Old Faithful, and several remarkable hot springs. One the most famous is Morning Glory Pool, which is accessible at the end of an easy 1.5-mile trail from the Old Faithful Visitor Center. But years ago, you could drive a car right up to its edge.

Date published: June 29, 2020

Discovery of Ancient Super-eruptions Suggests the Yellowstone Hotspot May Be Waning

Explosive super eruptions are among the most extreme events to affect the Earth’s surface. Thankfully, humans have not experienced such an event in recorded history (the last massive volcanic explosion was 26,500 years ago). The only clues to help us better understand super eruptions and their impacts are hiding within the geological record—including along the track of the Yellowstone hotspot...

Date published: June 22, 2020

Gases released from Yellowstone volcano provides clues to Earth's formation

With oceans covering over 70% of Earth's surface and an atmosphere rich in volatile elements (carbon, nitrogen and oxygen), Earth has seemingly always provided the perfect environment for life to develop in the Solar System. But how and when did these volatiles arrive on the planet? It turns out, the answer lies buried thousands of kilometers deep below Yellowstone National Park.

Date published: June 15, 2020

Jim Bridger: Yellowstone’s Spinner of Tall Tales

The American West is a land filled with tales of adventure and discovery. Countless stories of brave frontiersman and frontierswoman are still told around the campfire today. But the stories of one mountain man stand out among the rest. A spinner of tall tales and a man of mystery, James Felix “Jim” Bridger conquered the Rocky Mountain region and lived to tell the tale.

Date published: June 8, 2020

YVO welcomes Montana State University to the team!

Since 2013, the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory has been a consortium of 8 institutions—a mix of state and federal agencies and academic institutions.  Today, we are pleased to announce the addition of a 9th member of the consortium: Montana State University!

Date published: June 1, 2020

New interactive map on Yellowstone’s geology

Are you interested in Yellowstone’s dynamic geology? Do you like maps? If the answer to both questions is “yes,” then you’ll love a new online interactive map from the Wyoming State Geological Survey!

Date published: May 25, 2020

Aftershocks? Swarm? What is the difference, and what do they mean?

In Yellowstone, we often talk about earthquake swarms.  But especially in recent weeks, we’ve also discussed aftershock sequences.  What is the difference?  And what to these different types of seismic events mean?

Date published: May 4, 2020

New geochemical tool reveals origin of Yellowstone's deep nitrogen

In the air we breathe, Oxygen plays an obvious and important role, but it is not the most abundant gas in the atmosphere. That honor belongs to nitrogen. But where did this nitrogen come from? And how much nitrogen is there deep within the Earth? It turns out that measurements at Yellowstone are helping to address these questions and others!

Date published: April 27, 2020

Science with eyes wide open: A tribute to Ken Pierce

Have you ever tried to keep track of all the pieces while playing 3-dimensional chess? Imagine if the 4th dimension—time—was included, and the goal was to understand the evolution of the entire Greater Yellowstone Geoecosystem! That's an apt analogy for the 55-year research career of USGS Scientist Emeritus Ken Pierce.

Date published: April 20, 2020

The shaking signal of far-away earthquakes at Yellowstone

Two pretty good-sized earthquakes shook the western U.S. in March, a M5.7 in Utah and a M6.5 in Idaho. These quakes not only shook up the people living in those regions, they shook instruments that are part of the Network of the Americas (NOTA)—a network of deformation monitoring stations throughout the USA and beyond that is operated by UNAVCO. This includes instruments in Yellowstone!