Volcano Updates

Alert Level: NORMAL, Color Code: GREEN 2020-05-01 20:16:54

U.S. Geological Survey
Friday, May 1, 2020, 2:16 PM MDT (Friday, May 1, 2020, 20:16 UTC)

44°25'48" N 110°40'12" W, Summit Elevation 9203 ft (2805 m)
Current Volcano Alert Level: NORMAL
Current Aviation Color Code: GREEN

Recent work and news

We hope that everyone is safe and heathly during these challenging times.

YVO is pleased to announce that we are transitioning to a new website look and feel. The new site is online now (https://usgs.gov/yvo) and will replace the current site on or around May 11. The same information will be available, but search functionality will be improved.

YVO would also like to reiterate that the earthquake sequences occurring in central Idaho and near Salt Lake City are not related to Yellowstone, and they are not a sign of magma moving. These are aftershocks of the M6.5 central Idaho earthquake on March 31 and the M5.7 Utah earthquake on March 18. Strong earthquakes in the western USA are followed by aftershock sequences that can last months to years and that diminish gradually with time as the fault readjusts. The activity is related to tectonic extention of the western USA.

Steamboat geyser, in Norris Geyser Basin, experienced three water eruptions in the past month, on April 2, 10, and 27, bringing the total number of eruptions for the year to 12.


During April 2020, the University of Utah Seismograph Stations, responsible for the operation and analysis of the Yellowstone Seismic Network, located 134 earthquakes in the Yellowstone National Park region. The largest event was a minor earthquake of magnitude 1.9 located 8 miles north of West Yellowstone, MT, on April 3 at 9:27 PM MDT.

A swarm of 20 earthquakes ranging in magnitude from 0.2 to 1.5 occurred about 4 miles south-southeast of West Thumb in Yellowstone National Park during April 12-13. The largest swarm event occurred on April 12 at 5:52 PM MDT.

Earthquake sequences like these are common and account for roughly 50% of the total seismicity in the Yellowstone region.

Yellowstone earthquake activity remains at background levels.

Ground deformation

The overall deformation style and rate at Yellowstone remains unchanged since the last update. Subsidence of Yellowstone caldera, which has been ongoing since 2015, continues at an average rate of 2-3 cm (about 1 in) per year. In the area of Norris Geyser Basin, little deformation has been detected by a nearby GPS station since the start of 2020.

An example of GPS data can be found at http://www.unavco.org/instrumentation/networks/status/pbo/data/NRWY (click on Static Plots / Cleaned)

The Yellowstone Volcano Observatory (YVO) provides long-term monitoring of volcanic and earthquake activity in the Yellowstone National Park region. Yellowstone is the site of the largest and most diverse collection of natural thermal features in the world and the first National Park. YVO is one of the five USGS Volcano Observatories that monitor volcanoes within the United States for science and public safety.

YVO Member agencies: USGS, Yellowstone National Park, University of Utah, University of Wyoming, UNAVCO, Inc., Wyoming State Geological Survey, Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology, Idaho Geological Survey


Michael Poland, Scientist-in-Charge