Integrating Research and Education > Yellowstone > Key Topics > Solid Earth
Author Profile

Solid Earth

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

Old Faithful Geyser basin.
Old Faithful Geyser basin. Details

Volcanism

Resources describing Yellowstone volcanism in a solid earth 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)
  • 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)
  • 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)
  • Some Points of Volcanic Interest in Yellowstone National Park. This U.S. Geological Survey website highlights a few of the many interesting volcanic features related to the Yellowstone volcanic system. Highlighted features include the Obsidian Cliffs, the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, Sheepeater Cliffs, and the Mesa Falls ash-flow tuff. An oblique overview map of the Yellowstone area shows the location of these features in relation to other prominent locations around the 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 Geology. This Yellowstone National Park website provides geological information about the Park. Links include geologic highlights, hydrothermal features, reports by park geologists, and scientists' talks (videos). A wide array of information can be found on these links and the webpage is expanding as more topics are added. (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] mantle plume research (citation and description)

Bedrock Geology

Resources describing bedrock geology in Yellowstone.
  • Environmental Setting of the Yellowstone River Basin, Montana, North Dakota, and Wyoming. This U.S. Geological Survey report describes the natural and anthropogenic factors believed to influence water quality in the Yellowstone River Basin. Topics include physiography, climate, geology, vegetation, surface water, stream ecology, groundwater, anthropogenic factors, integrated environmental settings, and others. Text is supported by numerous maps, graphs, charts, diagrams, and tables. (more info)
  • Nature and Science: Natural Features and Ecosystems. This Yellowstone National Park website gives a brief overview of how geologic characteristics form the foundation of the park's ecosystem. Yellowstone has a unique interplay between volcanic, hydrothermal, and glacial processes that exert control on the distribution of flora and fauna. Topics include summaries on geologic formations, glaciation, geothermal features, and volcanism. (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)
  • Yellowstone Geology. This Yellowstone National Park website provides geological information about the Park. Links include geologic highlights, hydrothermal features, reports by park geologists, and scientists' talks (videos). A wide array of information can be found on these links and the webpage is expanding as more topics are added. (more info)
  • Yellowstone National Park. This brief summary of the geology of Yellowstone National Park includes a stratigraphic column for the northern portion of the park. The summary discusses Precambrian, Paleozoic, Mesozoic and Cenozoic time, emphasizing the Cenozoic because most of the visible rocks and features in the park formed during this time. The stratigraphic column can be accessed as a Word or PDF file. ( This site is likely no longer available. )

Hazards

Resources describing hazards associated with Yellowstone from a solid earth perspective.

Seismicity

Resources describing seismicity 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)
  • 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)
  • 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)
Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone
Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone Details

Maps

Maps describing the solid earth components 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)
  • 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: Solid Earth

General resources describing solid earth aspects of the Yellowstone geoecosystem.
  • Yellowstone National Park: Historic 3-D Photographs Featuring Park Geology. This source provides a series of 34 historic photographs of well-known geologic landmarks in Yellowstone National Park. The photographs can be viewed individually or as part of a tour that begins at Old Faithful and proceeds in a clockwise route around the park. The images were created by digital manipulation of antique stereographs and they may be viewed as black and white photos or in 3-D using special stereographic glasses. (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)

Additional Literature

Additional useful literature about Yellowstone.
  • Greater Yellowstone Bibliography. The Greater Yellowstone Bibliography is a database with over 28,900 bibliographic citations to scholarly, popular, professional, and creative literature about the greater Yellowstone region. It includes citations for journal, magazine, and newspaper articles, as well as books, book chapters, conference papers, government documents, theses, maps, CDs, and other materials. Citations can be searched by author, subject keyword, and geographic location. (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)
  • 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)

For ideas on how to use these webpages in a classroom, a Study Guide is provided.

« Previous Page      Next Page »