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Yellowstone Volcano Observatory Monthly Update

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avatar Yellowstone Volcano Observatory Monthly Update
July 03, 2018 05:47PM
Monday, July 2, 2018, 4:19 PM MDT (Monday, July 2, 2018, 22:19 UTC)

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

June saw three additional water eruptions of Steamboat geyser, on June 4, 11, and 15. YVO Scientists were actually present to witness the activity on June 4 and 15! The scientists on June 4 were removing 28 portable seismometers from around the geyser. Those sensors were installed in early May and recorded four Steamboat eruptions. The University of Utah scientists leading the project hope to use the data to better understand the plumbing system beneath Steamboat, and why that geyser, and others like it, behave in an intermittent fashion. University of Utah scientists also deployed temporary seismometers around Yellowstone Lake in June as part of a project designed to better understand the generation of microseisms, which are faint seismic signals that, at Yellowstone, are related to water waves on the lake.

In addition to work in Yellowstone, many YVO scientists have assisted colleagues in Hawaiʻi with the response to the ongoing volcanic crisis at Kīlauea Volcano.


During June 2018, the University of Utah Seismograph Stations, responsible for the operation and analysis of the Yellowstone Seismic Network, located 76 earthquakes in the Yellowstone National Park region. The largest event was a micro earthquake of magnitude 2.3 at 05:24 AM MDT on June 30, located about nine miles north-northeast of Old Faithful, WY. The event was part of a sequence of 31 earthquakes that began June 11 (MDT) and continued through the month (most of the events occurred on June 12 and 30).

A smaller sequence of 17 earthquakes occurred ~13 miles south-southeast of Mammoth, WY, during June 9–13. The largest event of that swarm was a micro earthquake of magnitude 2.1 on June 9 at 04:50 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

Subsidence of all parts of Yellowstone caldera continued throughout June at rates of a few centimeters per year -- a pattern that has been ongoing since 2015. Some GPS sites, like LKWY near Yellowstone Lake, are showing seasonal signals related to changing lake levels (these patterns repeat every year and generally show increased subsidence when the lake level is highest, reflecting the weight of the lake on Earth's surface). Uplift in the area of Norris Geyser Basin, measured by station NRWY, has been insignificant over the past month.

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
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