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Alert Level: NORMAL, Color Code: GREEN
2019-09-03 16:53:35 UTC





YELLOWSTONE VOLCANO OBSERVATORY MONTHLY UPDATE
U.S. Geological Survey
Tuesday, September 3, 2019, 10:53 AM MDT (Tuesday, September 3, 2019, 16:53 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

August 2019 was another record-setting month for Steamboat geyser, which experienced water eruptions on August 12, 20, and 27. The August 27 eruption was the 33rd of 2019, breaking the record for eruptions in a calendar year that was set in 2018.

Field work in Yellowstone National Park during the month of August included maintenance work on the temperature monitoring network in Norris geyser basin, as well as a field visit to the new thermal area near West Tern Lake, on the east side of Yellowstone National Park. Geologists mapped the region and measured ground temperatures that in places reached 92 degrees Celsius (198 degrees Farenheit), which is the boiling temperature at that elevation. There were no water springs in the new thermal area, but a few fumaroles were venting steam. Sulfur crystals on the fumarole edges indicated the presence of hydrogen sulfide, which is a common gas in Yellowstone hydrothermal areas. More information about the field visit is given in the August 26, 2019, edition of Yellowstone Caldera Chronicles (https://volcanoes.usgs.gov/volcanoes/yellowstone/article_home.html?vaid=218).

Seismicity

During August 2019, the University of Utah Seismograph Stations, responsible for the operation and analysis of the Yellowstone Seismic Network, located 128 earthquakes in the Yellowstone National Park region. The largest event was a minor earthquake of magnitude 3.5 located 21 miles north-northwest of Moran, WY, on August 15 at 1:46 PM MDT.

August seismicity in Yellowstone concluded with a swarm of 54 located earthquakes during August 27-31. Additional earthquakes that were too small to be located but can be seen on webicorders are not included in the swarm total number. The largest swarm event, a minor earthquake of magnitude 2.7, was located 6 miles south-southeast of West Thumb, in Yellowstone National Park, on August 29 at 4:24 PM MDT.

Yellowstone earthquake activity remains at background levels.

Ground deformation

Ground deformation in the Yellowstone area as recorded by GPS stations has been largely flat for the past month. Ground subsidence of Yellowstone caldera has been ongoing since 2015, but there has been little subsidence or uplift over the summer of 2019. Similarly, in the area of Norris Geyser Basin, GPS data show no significant changes since October 2018.

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



CONTACT INFORMATION:

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




YELLOWSTONE VOLCANO OBSERVATORY MONTHLY UPDATE
U.S. Geological Survey
Thursday, August 1, 2019, 10:09 AM MDT (Thursday, August 1, 2019, 16:09 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

In July 2019, Steamboat geyser returned to more "normal" (at least since 2018) patterns, with water eruptions occurring on a near-weekly schedule. During the month, 5 water eruptions occurred, on July 4, 10, 18, 24, and 30, bringing the total number of eruptions for the year to 30. University of Utah and National Park Service scientists recovered a network of 51 temporary seismometers around Steamboat geyser in mid-July after having captured several eruptions. Data from these temporary seismometers should provide new insights into how Steamboat works and where in the subsurface the water for Steamboat eruptions is stored.

August 2019 marks the 60th anniversary of the M7.3 Hebgen Lake earthquake, which occurred on August 17, 1959, at 11:37 PM local time. The quake caused the deaths of at least 28 people, and there were numerous landslides and rockfalls throughout the region. The earthquake also resulted in numerous changes to Yellowstone's hydrothermal systems, with many geyser eruptions from previously dormant springs. To commemorate the anniversary, the US Forest Service Earthquake Lake visitor center, located 27 miles northwest of West Yellowstone, MT, will hold a series of public events, including lectures by Yellowstone Volcano Observatory scientists. On August 8 at 3 PM MDT, Dr. Mike Stickney, Directory of Earthquake Studies at the Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology, will talk about the 1959 earthquake and the geology of the region. On August 16 at 2 PM MDT, Dr. Jamie Farrell, research professor at the University of Utah and chief seismologist of the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory, will discuss the Hebgen Lake earthquake's impacts on Yellowstone. The anniversary serves as a good reminder of the earthquake hazards that exist in the Yellowstone region, as well as the intermountain west of the United States in general.

Seismicity

During July 2019, the University of Utah Seismograph Stations, responsible for the operation and analysis of the Yellowstone Seismic Network, located 135 earthquakes in the Yellowstone National Park region. The largest event was a microearthquake of magnitude 2.9 located 9 miles north-northeast of Old Faithful, WY, on July 23 at 00:40 AM MDT. The earthquake was not reported felt.

July seismicity in Yellowstone included a swarm of 78 located earthquakes during July 19-28. The swarm events ranged in magnitude from 0 to 2.9, which included the largest event of the month. The swarm events were located approximately 9 miles north-northeast of Old Faithful, WY. Earthquake swarms like this are common and account for roughly 50% of the total seismicity in the Yellowstone region.

Yellowstone earthquake activity remains at background levels.

Ground deformation

There were no major variations in surface deformation in the Yellowstone area as recorded by GPS stations. Ground subsidence of Yellowstone caldera slowed somewhat during July, but this probably reflects a seasonal effect related to changes in snow melt, lake levels, and subsurface water conditions. The overall rate of caldera subsidence since 2015 is 2-3 centimeters (about 1 inch) per year. In the area of Norris Geyser Basin, GPS data show no significant changes—no uplift or subsidence—since October 2018.

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



CONTACT INFORMATION:

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