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Monitoring Deformation in Yellowstone National Park

Continuous recording and temporary deployments of Global Positioning Systems (GPS) receivers and bench marks on solid monuments are employed at Yellowstone to precisely record their positions (horizontal and vertical coordinates). The time variations over days, months, years, etc. provide the velocity (in cm per year) of the site relative to the rest of the points in Yellowstone and to the rest of the North American continent. The velocity fields thus map spatial variations of the ground due to such volcanic processes as magma and hydrothermal transport and fault motions related to earthquakes. Measurements of ground motions using GPS at Yellowstone thus provides a method of monitoring its active volcanic and tectonic processes that are necessary for understanding the properties and locations of the sources as well as providing information on possible premonitory motions that precede a volcanic or earthquake event.

The GPS stations are maintained by the Plate Boundary Observatory via UNAVCO. The data are transmitted via radio and satellite links to various groups around the world for recording and processing. GPS data plotted through the YVO monitoring interface are processed by UNAVCO.

GPS Deformation Data