Integrating Research and Education > Yellowstone > Key Topics > Geophysics
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Geophysics

This page was written by Denny Capps as part of the DLESE Community Services Project: Integrating Research in Education.

Castle Geyser with rainbow in Old Faithful geyser basin.
Castle Geyser with rainbow in Old Faithful geyser basin. Details

Volcanism

Resources describing volcanism in Yellowstone in a geophysical context.
  • A Living, Breathing Caldera. This report describes the crustal deformation of the Yellowstone Hotspot from 1923 to 1995. Measurements show that the Yellowstone Caldera underwent rapid uplift from 1923 to 1985; this was followed by ten years of subsidence. The report also summarizes the University of Utah's research program to monitor the caldera using GPS stations. Information on surrounding fault zones is also provided. (more info)
  • Current Activity at the Yellowstone Volcanic System. This website provides a monthly summary of current geologic events that relate to the Yellowstone volcanic system. The summary includes information about earthquakes, hydrothermal activity, and other events of interest. Links are provided for more in-depth information. (more info)
  • Geologic Map of the Island Park Area, Yellowstone Region. This website contains a geologic map of the Island Park, Idaho area. The map shows rocks, deposits, faults, calderas, flows, and other geologic features of interest. (more info)
  • Neogene-Quaternary Tectonics and Volcanism of Southern Jackson Hole, Wyoming and Southeastern Idaho. This geology field trip guide focuses on the region south of the Snake River Plain between Pocatello, Idaho and Jackson, Wyoming. The intent was to synthesize regional tectonic relations and present new information relative to the magmatic and structural history of the region. It contains a two-day itinerary, commentary by experts, maps, and satellite images. (more info)
  • Selected Products and References Related to the Yellowstone Volcanic System. This U.S. Geological Survey website provides links and references to scientific publications related to the Yellowstone Volcanic System. Products include online maps and reports. References include a bibliography of books, professional papers, bulletins, and articles, and a link to a database of research in Yellowstone Park. (more info)
  • The Quaternary and Pliocene Yellowstone Plateau Volcanic Field of Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana. This U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper is aimed at constructing a volcanic history of the Yellowstone Plateau region, interpreting important volcanic mechanisms, and seeking clues to deeper-seated processes that gave rise to the volcanic activity. Research for this paper spanned four decades and involved areal geologic mapping and the delineation of volcanic stratigraphy and significant structural relations. It includes text, maps, photographs, diagrams, and chemical analysis data. (more info)
  • The Yellowstone-Teton Epicenter. This University of Utah website provides an overview of the history and present conditions of the Yellowstone hotspot. Topics include the track of the hotspot, tectonics, seismicity, history and global significance of major events, and the physical properties of the modern volcanic system. Numerous maps, graphs, and other figures support the text. (more info)
  • Volcanic History of the Yellowstone Plateau Volcanic Field. This U.S. Geological Survey website gives an overview of Yellowstone volcanism. Text, numerous photos, tables, a map, and a volcanic term glossary explain the three major volcanic cycles that created the landscape that we call Yellowstone. (more info)
  • Volcano Hazards Fact Sheet: Yellowstone - Restless Volcanic Giant. This U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report summarizes the Yellowstone volcanic system and its associated hazards. Scientists are studying the Yellowstone region to assess the potential hazards from future earthquakes and eruptions and to provide warning of increased unrest. The report includes text, several maps, and data plots. Topics include Yellowstone's roots, the Yellowstone caldera, contemporary unrest, reasons to worry, and additional readings. (more info)
  • Yellowstone Caldera, Wyoming. This U.S. Geological Survey clearinghouse provides a diverse array of over 40 links to information on the Yellowstone volcanic system. The links are organized by category, including background and information; special items of interest; maps, graphics, and images; items of interest; useful links; educational outreach; and other menus of interest. (more info)
  • Yellowstone Resources and Issues. This Yellowstone National Park online book is a compendium of concise information about the park's history, natural and cultural resources, issues, and major areas. Chapters, which are downloadable as PDF files, focus on the history of the park, the yellowstone ecosystem, geology, life in extreme heat (as in the hot springs), vegetation, fire in yellowstone, wildlife, and park issues. (more info)
  • Yellowstone Science. Yellowstone Science is a quarterly publication devoted to Yellowstone National Park's natural and cultural resources. It features articles about research in the park, provides a colloquium for scientists, and offers an opportunity for the public to view this research. Articles can be searched by topic, author, or volume and may be downloaded in PDF format. (more info)
  • Yellowstone Volcano Observatory. This source is a clearinghouse of scientific information about the Yellowstone volcanic system. Topics include recent seismic and thermal activity, volcanic history, references and maps, a photo gallery, and FAQs. This website contains both general information that would be useful for anyone that is seeking information on the Yellowstone volcanic system, as well as more specific resources for geology students or teachers. (more info)
  • Yellowstone-Snake-River-Plain GPS Network. This clearinghouse of GPS information focuses on the overall strain and deformation field of the Yellowstone and Snake River Plain region. (more info)
  • Velocity structure of the Yellowstone hot spot from teleseismic tomography: Evidence for an upper mantle plume. [Waite et al, 2006] plume research (citation and description)

Surface Deformation

Resources describing surface deformation in Yellowstone.
  • Post-Glacial Inflation-Deflation Cycles, Tilting, and Faulting in the Yellowstone Caldera Based on Yellowstone Lake Shorelines. This U.S. Geological Survey Open-File report describes the vertical deformation of the northern Yellowstone Lake shoreline through time due to volcanic and/or tectonic processes. Multiple paleo-shorelines and hydrothermal explosions are dated using carbon isotopic and archeological methods. Numerous maps, LIDAR data, and graphs support the text. The report is a 62-page pdf file. (more info)
  • Seismic Evidence for Fluid Migration Accompanying Subsidence of the Yellowstone Caldera. This report describes the largest earthquake swarm in Yellowstone National Park's recorded history. For a little over 3 months beginning in October 1985, the swarm contained more than 3000 earthquakes with a magnitude greater than 5. The swarm had unusual characteristics that could be explained by the migration of hydrothermal fluids. Maps and numerous graphs support the text. (more info)
  • Yellowstone Science. Yellowstone Science is a quarterly publication devoted to Yellowstone National Park's natural and cultural resources. It features articles about research in the park, provides a colloquium for scientists, and offers an opportunity for the public to view this research. Articles can be searched by topic, author, or volume and may be downloaded in PDF format. (more info)

Seismicity

Geophysical information about seismic activity in Yellowstone.
  • Current Activity at the Yellowstone Volcanic System. This website provides a monthly summary of current geologic events that relate to the Yellowstone volcanic system. The summary includes information about earthquakes, hydrothermal activity, and other events of interest. Links are provided for more in-depth information. (more info)
  • Remotely Triggered Seismicity in the Yellowstone National Park Regionby the 2002 Mw 7.9 Denali Fault Earthquake, Alaska. Husen et al., 2004 This journal article describes an abrupt increase in seismicity in Yellowstone National Park coincident with a 7.9 earthquake on the Denali Fault in Alaska. (citation and description)
  • Recent Earthquakes in the Intermountain West. This website provides up-to-date information on recent earthquakes in the Intermountain West, including the greater Yellowstone area. Earthquakes for the past 7 days are shown. Symbols on the map indicate earthquake location, time, and magnitude. Users may select from a clickable map or choose from a linked list to obtain more in-depth information about an earthquake. (more info)
  • Yellowstone National Park Region Seismicity Maps. This University of Utah website provides numerous maps of the Yellowstone National Park area that show the location and magnitude of historical earthquakes. Time intervals include the previous day, week, 30-days, 90-days, year, 1973 to present, 1973-1981, and 1983 to present. The maps also include latitude and longitude, park boundary, and fault information. (more info)

Hazards

Resources describing hazards in Yellowstone in a geophysical context.
  • Current Activity at the Yellowstone Volcanic System. This website provides a monthly summary of current geologic events that relate to the Yellowstone volcanic system. The summary includes information about earthquakes, hydrothermal activity, and other events of interest. Links are provided for more in-depth information. (more info)
  • Exploration and Discovery in Yellowstone Lake: Results from High-resolution Sonar Imaging, Seismic Reflection Profiling, and Submersible Studies. This journal article presents discoveries from multi-beam sonar mapping and seismic reflection surveys of Yellowstone Lake. It provides new insight into the extent of post-collapse volcanism and active hydrothermal processes occurring in a large lake environment above a large magma chamber. The article contains extensive text, photos, maps, and diagrams to support findings. (more info)
  • Frequently Asked Questions about Recent Findings at Yellowstone Lake. This U.S. Geological Survey website answers the most commonly asked questions regarding reports that a bulge beneath Yellowstone Lake may represent a hazard for residents or visitors to the area. In addition, it provides a new high-resolution bathymetric relief map of Yellowstone Lake. References, and some direct links, to the original research materials are provided. (more info)
  • Recent Earthquakes in the Intermountain West. This website provides up-to-date information on recent earthquakes in the Intermountain West, including the greater Yellowstone area. Earthquakes for the past 7 days are shown. Symbols on the map indicate earthquake location, time, and magnitude. Users may select from a clickable map or choose from a linked list to obtain more in-depth information about an earthquake. (more info)
  • Seismic Map for Yellowstone. A map of known hazardous faults and fault zones in Yellowstone National Park plotted with real-time earthquake data. The earthquake epicenters can be clicked for more information. (more info)
  • Volcano Hazards Fact Sheet: Yellowstone - Restless Volcanic Giant. This U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report summarizes the Yellowstone volcanic system and its associated hazards. Scientists are studying the Yellowstone region to assess the potential hazards from future earthquakes and eruptions and to provide warning of increased unrest. The report includes text, several maps, and data plots. Topics include Yellowstone's roots, the Yellowstone caldera, contemporary unrest, reasons to worry, and additional readings. (more info)
  • Yellowstone National Park Region Seismicity Maps. This University of Utah website provides numerous maps of the Yellowstone National Park area that show the location and magnitude of historical earthquakes. Time intervals include the previous day, week, 30-days, 90-days, year, 1973 to present, 1973-1981, and 1983 to present. The maps also include latitude and longitude, park boundary, and fault information. (more info)
  • Yellowstone Science. Yellowstone Science is a quarterly publication devoted to Yellowstone National Park's natural and cultural resources. It features articles about research in the park, provides a colloquium for scientists, and offers an opportunity for the public to view this research. Articles can be searched by topic, author, or volume and may be downloaded in PDF format. (more info)
Small false color satellite image of Yellowstone.


Maps

Maps describing the geophysics of Yellowstone.
  • Digital Atlas of the Greater Yellowstone Area. This online atlas provides a wide array of maps of the natural and socio-economic features of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem and surrounding areas. The maps are made from GIS layers, and users can select from many types of information such as satellite imagery and topographic maps. Map areas include Yellowstone National Park, Grand Teton National Park, the Bridger-Teton National Forest, Gallatin County, and several other areas. A list of additional web resources with metadata is also provided. (more info)
  • Exploration and Discovery in Yellowstone Lake: Results from High-resolution Sonar Imaging, Seismic Reflection Profiling, and Submersible Studies. This journal article presents discoveries from multi-beam sonar mapping and seismic reflection surveys of Yellowstone Lake. It provides new insight into the extent of post-collapse volcanism and active hydrothermal processes occurring in a large lake environment above a large magma chamber. The article contains extensive text, photos, maps, and diagrams to support findings. (more info)
  • Geologic Map of the Island Park Area, Yellowstone Region. This website contains a geologic map of the Island Park, Idaho area. The map shows rocks, deposits, faults, calderas, flows, and other geologic features of interest. (more info)
  • Geologic Map of the Yellowstone Plateau Area. This geologic map shows rock formations, surficial deposits, faults, calderas, lava flows, and other geologic features of interest. A separate small map shows rhyolite flows. (more info)
  • Map and Data for Quaternary Faults and Folds in Wyoming. The primary objective of this U.S. Geological Survey Open-file Report is to improve seismic-hazard assessments in regions of Wyoming with low to moderate levels of historic seismicity. A map and pamphlet are available for download in PDF format. The map shows faults and folds with evidence of Quaternary movement including data on timing of the most recent movement, sense of movement, slip rate, and continuity of surface expression. (more info)
  • Upper Cenozoic Geologic Map, Yellowstone Plateau Volcanic Field. This geologic map shows Tertiary and Quaternary rock formations, volcanic and surficial deposits, faults, contacts, and other geologic features in Yellowstone National Park. The map is freely downloadable as a PDF file. (more info)
  • Yellowstone Geologic System Database (GeoGIS). This website provides access to a broad collection of geographical, geological, and geophysical data for the Yellowstone/Snake River Plain volcanic system. Data types include physical geography, geology, geophysics, geodesy, regional models, and hazards. Information may be downloaded from lists of data, and links are provided to the original sources. (more info)
  • Yellowstone National Park GIS Data. This website provides links to GIS vector data and metadata for the geology, geography, biology, climate, infrastructure, and management of Yellowstone National Park. Note that these datasets must be viewed with ArcView. Additionally, it provides links to GIS raster metadata and an order form for a CD containing raster data. (more info)

Yellowstone Geophysics

General resources describing geophysics in Yellowstone.
  • Yellowstone National Park Facts. This Yellowstone National Park website provides a fact sheet with a wide range of physical and cultural information. Key topics include general park facts, wildlife, flora, geology, Yellowstone Lake, cultural resources, visitation, facilities, roads, trails, and the latitude/longitude of several significant features. (more info)
  • Yellowstone Resources and Issues. This Yellowstone National Park online book is a compendium of concise information about the park's history, natural and cultural resources, issues, and major areas. Chapters, which are downloadable as PDF files, focus on the history of the park, the yellowstone ecosystem, geology, life in extreme heat (as in the hot springs), vegetation, fire in yellowstone, wildlife, and park issues. (more info)
  • Yellowstone Science. Yellowstone Science is a quarterly publication devoted to Yellowstone National Park's natural and cultural resources. It features articles about research in the park, provides a colloquium for scientists, and offers an opportunity for the public to view this research. Articles can be searched by topic, author, or volume and may be downloaded in PDF format. (more info)
  • Yellowstone-Snake-River-Plain GPS Network. This clearinghouse of GPS information focuses on the overall strain and deformation field of the Yellowstone and Snake River Plain region. (more info)

Additional Literature

Additional useful literatiure about Yellowstone.
For ideas on how to use these webpages in a classroom, a Study Guide is provided.

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