For Yellowstone science aficionados seeking updates on all things tectonic, volcanic and explosive, the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory has published its 2020 annual report.
Although scientific studies in the park were constricted by the pandemic, researchers still launched an experiment to image the top of Yellowstone’s magma reservoir and sought a better understanding of hydrothermal explosion craters in the Lower Geyser Basin.
Details of much of the research can be found online at https://pubs.er.usgs.gov/publication/cir1482 along with impressive imagery.
Other highlights noted in the report include Steamboat Geyser's 48 eruptions, matching the record for a calendar year that was set in 2019. Giantess Geyser, in the Upper Geyser Basin, erupted for the first time in six years in August 2020 and experienced a second eruption in September.
The floor of the park's caldera continued to subside a couple of inches while minor subsidence of Norris Geyser Basin that began in 2018 slowed during 2020 and stopped by the end of the year.
The number of located earthquakes — 1,722 — was greater than that recorded in 2019 (1,217 located events) but was still well within the average range of annual located events and less than the numbers in 2018 (2,007) and 2017 (3,427).
YVO is a collaborative consortium made up of the U.S. Geological Survey, Yellowstone National Park, University of Utah, University of Wyoming, Montana State University, UNAVCO, Wyoming State Geological Survey, Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology and Idaho Geological Survey.
For weekly articles on Yellowstone, check out the YVO's Caldera Chronicles published in the Billings Gazette newspaper every Sunday.