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= Yellowstone National Park
= Caldera
Yellowstone Monthly Update
Thursday, September 01, 2016 10:54 AM US/Mountain
Current Volcano Alert Level: NORMAL
Current Aviation Color Code: GREEN
 
YVO's Mission
The Yellowstone Volcano Observatory provides timely monitoring and hazard assessment of volcanic, hydrothermal, and earthquake activity in the Yellowstone Plateau region.

Features   (archive)
Quick Links

New videos highlight Yellowstone science
August 23, 2016

Over the past few years, we've recorded interviews with a number of the scientists who did critical work revealing Yellowstone's volcanic past and present. Our latest installment includes two interviews with Dr. Ken Pierce, a glaciologist and geomorphologist who works today as an emeritus scientists with the USGS in Bozeman, MT. Pierce has written scores of important articles on the geology of Yellowstone, and these two videos give you a flavor of the man and his career.

Glaciation in the Greater Yellowstone Area
Detecting "heavy breathing" (subtle inflation and deflation) of Yellowstone Caldera
USGS Scientist Presents Ash Transport Lecture
June 08, 2016

Interested in supereruptions? This May 2016 talk by USGS scientist Larry Mastin summarizes how we model ash transport after volcanic eruptions, which was applied to some of the big eruptions in Yellowstone's past. The work follows on to Larry's 2014 publication that was summarized as a series of FAQs on our website. The lecture discusses Yellowstone and it's history, but it also discusses the broader study of ash plumes in the atmosphere and how researchers are keen to develop methods to estimate how and where ash will fall after big eruptions.

Our website multimedia section hosts a variety of earlier lectures on Yellowstone (about 15 hours worth!).
Carbonated Water Helps Geysers Erupt
March 16, 2016
Most models of geyser eruptions start with a simple assumption: eruptions occur as liquid water boils to steam. While that is largely true, if the water includes dissolved carbon dioxide, geyser eruptions can occur at temperatures lower than boiling. USGS scientist Shaul Hurwitz and colleagues published a paper discussing this phenomenon. Read the summary of their research on our website and the full article in the March 2016 issue of the journal Geology.
Research Provides Age Dates for Yellowstone Hot Springs
January 13, 2016
How old are Yellowstone's geysers? New research by YVO scientists uses carbon-dating techniques on bits of organic matter trapped in the silica sinter that forms on the margins of hot springs. Even with very small samples, it's possible to determine how long these thermal features have been active and perhaps when they formed. Read a summary of the study with a visual explanation of the methods on our website. The full article is available in a January 2016 issue of the Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research.
Dr. Robert B. Smith, a living legend around Yellowstone, shares details of his 55 years of researching the volcano.
August 10, 2015
Robert B. Smith (Bob), a professor of geophysics and scientist at the University of Utah, has been collaborating with USGS scientists on Yellowstone geologic topics since the 1960's. In this interview with the USGS, Bob explains that he likes to work on Yellowstone because, "you are seeing processes that are active today...it's real time geology, and that's what makes it exciting for me. We can look at the processes developed from studying Yellowstone, and then apply those processes to other places in the earth where there are volcanoes and big faults or earthquakes." He is right, Yellowstone is a natural laboratory for volcanologic research, and he explains more about his work there and with the USGS in this newly released interview. You can watch three additional interviews with legendary Yellowstone scientists on our multimedia webpage.
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Frequently Asked Questions

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
Alert Level: Normal (2016-09-01 16:54:23)