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YELLOWSTONE VOLCANO OBSERVATORY MONTHLY UPDATE
U.S. Geological Survey
Wednesday, June 1, 2022, 11:19 AM MDT (Wednesday, June 1, 2022, 17:19 UTC)


YELLOWSTONE VOLCANO (VNUM #325010)
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

YVO scientists were in Yellowstone for several weeks during the month of May.  Field work inlcuded mainternance of temperature monitoring stations in Norris Geyser Basin, deployment of 15 semipermanent GPS stations, and maintenance of continuous gas monitoring equipment near Mud Volcano.  YVO scientists also gathered for their first in-person meeting in 4 years, discussing recent scientific results and revising the YVO response plan, which provides a guide for the scientific and hazards response to any geological event or unrest in the region.

Steamboat Geyser erupted twice during the past month, on May 4 and May 23; there have now been a total of 6 major water eruptions of the geyser in 2022.  As of the end of May, the geyser was showing increasing levels of minor activity, so an eruption by early-mid June is likely.  Just in time for the start of summer!


Seismicity

During May 2022, the University of Utah Seismograph Stations, responsible for the operation and analysis of the Yellowstone Seismic Network, located 87 earthquakes in the Yellowstone National Park region. The largest event of the month was a light earthquake of magnitude 4.2 located ~13 miles north of the East Entrance of Yellowstone National Park on May 11 at 7:32 AM MDT, and it was reported felt by people in the park and surrounding communities.  This was the strongest earthquake to occur in the Yellowstone region since a M4.4 event in 2017.  On average, an M4 event is located in or around Yellowstone National Park every few years.

May seismicity in Yellowstone was marked by two small swarms:

1) A swarm of 12 earthquakes, ~8 miles west of Old Faithful, Yellowstone National Park, occurred May 17–18. The largest earthquake of the swarm (magnitude 2.0) was on May 18 at 7:59 AM MDT.

2) A swarm of 10 earthquakes, ~5 miles north of West Yellowstone, MT, occurred May 8–9, with the largest earthquake (magnitude 2.3) taking place on May 8 at 11:02 AM 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

No significant changes in ground deformation patterns were observed in data from continuous GPS stations over the past several months. No deformation is apparent in a station near Norris Geyser Basin, and stations within Yellowstone Caldera continue to subside at an overall rate of 2–3 cm (1 in) per year. This subsidence has been ongoing since 2015.

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, Montana State University, UNAVCO, Inc., Wyoming State Geological Survey, Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology, Idaho Geological Survey





CONTACT INFORMATION:

Michael Poland, Scientist-in-Charge
mpoland@usgs.gov