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Yellowstone Volcano Observatory

= Yellowstone National Park
= Caldera
Yellowstone Monthly Update
Wednesday, July 02, 2014 6:13 AM
 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)
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Using Seismic Waves to Image the Yellowstone Magma Storage Region
June 25, 2014

How do we know what's beneath Yellowstone, and how can we image the shallow magma? Seismologists at the University of Utah (a YVO member agency) and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology undertook a study to image the Yellowstone magma reservoir through a technique called seismic tomography. Using improved methods and data from thousands of earthquakes; they discovered that the magma reservoir is much larger than inferred in previous studies. Read our website article to find out how the study was conducted and what they discovered. The complete results from this new approach are published in the Journal Geophysical Research Letters.

FAQ about Recent News Reports - Earthquake, Ground Uplift, Animal Movement, and Helium
April 02, 2014
Recent weeks have seen a flurry of news, real and imagined, about the Yellowstone volcanic system. Below is a brief FAQ about several topics that have appeared in recent news reports.

Has earthquake activity at Yellowstone increased dramatically over the last month?
With the latest swarms, earthquakes are elevated, but are not unusual for Yellowstone. Below is a bar chart that shows the last 20 years of earthquakes in the north-central part of the park. The previous uptick in earthquakes in this part of the park was during the previous period of uplift in this region.

Is the recent episode of ground deformation worrisome?
No. Current rates of ground deformation are well within historical norms. Please see our February 18, 2014 Information Statement, for more information about ground deformation at Yellowstone.

Are animals leaving Yellowstone National Park?
According to the park, any animal migrations are typical for this time of year. Most of the recent videos on the internet that show running bison were filmed weeks (at least) before Sunday's earthquake. Park spokesman Al Nash discusses this and other topics in a YouTube video.

Do helium emissions at Yellowstone signal an impending eruption?
No. YVO Scientist-in-Charge Jacob Lowenstern and colleagues recently published research on helium (He) emissions at Yellowstone in the journal Nature. The new research looked at apparent changes in the helium output of the Yellowstone area during its two-million-year volcanic history, compared with the previous two billion years of comparative stability. The research has nothing to do with current activity at Yellowstone, and has no implications about volcanic hazards. For a humorous and informative take on the new research, read the Los Angeles Times article, "It's up, up and away for ancient trapped helium at Yellowstone," or watch the video "Ancient Helium Is Escaping by the Ton from Yellowstone."

For additional information, see the April 1, 2014 Monthly Activity Update.
Featured Articles
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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