Project status is complete. Please check the CMERSC project list for currently active projects.
Integrated Geoscience Studies of the Greater Yellowstone Area
National Park (YNP), with
its spectacular hydrothermal systems, represents active epithermal mineralization
processes. Details of the inactive and currently active hydrothermal systems
that symbolize YNP and
their relation to magmatic activity, caldera development, active faulting,
fluid flow, incipient ore-forming processes, impacts on wildlife and plants,
and climate are poorly known. Additionally, the interrelationship and timing
of seismicity and caldera inflation/deflation cycles is not well understood.
Active hydrothermal vents, the existence of siliceous spires, hydrothermal
explosion craters, and domal features, and young, newly identified faults in
Yellowstone Lake and older, post-glacial, hydrothermal systems exposed throughout
the Park offer excellent opportunities to understand the interrelationships
among these processes. Further, hydrothermal vents may impact aquatic life
by affecting nutrient and elemental cycles and also may pose potential geologic
hazards. Impacts of the geologic environment on plant and animal habitats —including
the effects of mine waste and metal-rich geothermal waters that may enter the
food chain of mammals— also
are poorly known because of the paucity of detailed geologic, geochemical and
mineralogical information. Baselines of various elements (particularly heavy
metals) are needed to evaluate the environmental chemical health. Geophysical,
geologic and geochemical studies of the Yellowstone caldera yielded improved
understanding of the life cycle and environment of epithermal mineralization
processes and environmental impacts of mineralized and hydrothermal areas.
The application of scientific studies to improved stewardship of the unique
natural resources of Yellowstone is a high-profile Department of the Interior
(DOI) initiative. The
National Park Service (NPS)
is interested in such data to enable effective resource management, protect
park visitors from geologic hazards, and better educate the public on geologic
processes and resources. This project provided baseline geophysical and geochemical
data for the following purposes:
assessment of the crustal structure and composition of the Park, its relationship
to the Yellowstone caldera, and locations of previously and currently active
assessment of the effects of past mining in the area north of the Park
near Cooke City; and
determination of whether potentially toxic elements are due to anthropogenic
causes or natural lake bottom or subaerial geothermal influences, and if
these toxic elements are entering the micro- and macro-faunal food chains.
The project also provided detailed information on the geologic and hydrologic
environment of YNP and information
on potential hazards. The USGS role
was to transfer and apply USGS-developed
technologies and to partner and network with academia and other agencies to disseminate
scientific information to citizens, public interest groups, and the media. This
showcased USGS data
and information and demonstrated the relevance of earth sciences in the stewardship
of federal lands. Data obtained from this project compared and contrasted detailed
geophysical, geologic, and geochemical data currently available for similar systems
in the Yellowstone-Snake River Plain (Y-SRP)
volcanotectonic province. The origin of this unique, 17-Ma province
has been attributed to a thermal plume which may have risen from the core-mantle
boundary, a region believed to be high in gold and gold-related siderophile elements.
Morgan, L.A., ed., 2007, Integrated geoscience studies in the greater Yellowstone area—Volcanic, tectonic, and hydrothermal processes in the Yellowstone geoecosystem: U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 1717, 532 p.
Morgan, L.A., Shanks, W.C., Lee, G.K., and Webring, M.W., 2007, Bathymetry and geology of the floor of Yellowstone Lake, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Map 2973, 2 sheets.
Crustal structure and composition of Yellowstone National Park: relation of crustal structures to geology, hydrothermal alteration, and seismic activity
Finn, Carol A., and Morgan, Lisa A., 1999, Results from a High-resolution aeromagnetic survey of Yellowstone National Park: A revealing look at the Yellowstone caldera, Geol. Soc. Amer. Memoir (125 Years of Geoscience in Yellowstone National Park).
Morgan, Lisa A., and Christiansen, Robert L., 1998, Preliminary results from anisotropic magnetic susceptibility studies of the Lava Creek Tuff, Yellowstone National Park, Yellowstone Science, Spring Supplement 1998, p. 42.
Morgan, L.A., Pierce, K.L., Christiansen, R.L., and Lageson, D.R., 1998, 127 Years of geologic discovery in Yellowstone National Park: A progress report, Yellowstone Science, Spring Supplement 1998, p. 43 (Invited).
Morgan, L.A., Pierce, K.L., and McIntosh, W.C., 1998, The volcanic track of the Yellowstone Hotspot: An Update, Yellowstone Science, Spring Supplement 1998 p. 43 (Invited).
Pierce, K.L., Morgan, L.A., and Saltus, R.W. , 1999, Yellowstone Plume Head: Postulated tectonic relations to the Vancouver slab, continental boundaries, and climate., in "Tectonic and Magmatic Evolution of the Snake River Plain", Idaho Bureau of Mines and Geology Bulletin (Bill Bonnichsen, Craig White, and Mike McCurry, editors), 65 ms p.
Pierce, K.L., Morgan, L.A., and Despain, D.G., 1998, The Yellowstone hotspot, greater Yellowstone geo-ecosystem, and human experience, Yellowstone Science, v. 6, No. 2, Spring Supplement 1998, p. 44-45.
Lageson, D.R., Adams, D.C., Morgan, L.A., Pierce, K.L., and Smith, R.B., 1999, Neogene-Quaternary tectonics and volcanism of southern Jackson Hole, Wyoming and southeastern Idaho (Invited), Guidebook to the Geology of Eastern Idaho, S.S. Hughes and G.D. Thackery, editors: Idaho Museum of Natural History, Pocatello, Idaho, p. 115-130.
Morgan, L.A., 1997, Investigations of magnetic properties and physical characteristics of selected volcanic and hydrothermal deposits in Yellowstone National Park (abstract), Annual Interagency Conference, Yellowstone National Park (September, 1997).
Morgan, L.A., Pierce, K.L., and McIntosh, W.C., 1999, 40Ar/39Ar ages of silicic volcanic rocks in the Snake River Plain: Timing of volcanism and tectonism along the track of the Yellowstone hot spot: Geological Society of America, 1999 Abstacts with Programs, v. 31, no. 4, p. A49 (Invited keynote presentation).
Pierce, K.L., Morgan, L.A., and Saltus, R.W., 1999, Yellowstone plume head: Postulated relations to the Vancouver slab, continental boundaries, and climate: Geological Society of America, 1999 Abstracts with Programs, v. 31, no. 4, p. A52 (Invited keynote presentation).
Finn, Carol A., and Morgan, Lisa A., 1998, Results from a high-resolution aeromagnetic survey of Yellowstone National Park: a revealing look at the Yellowstone caldera, 125th Anniversary Symposium of Yellowstone National Park: Yellowstone Science, v. 6, p. 34.
Morgan, Lisa A., and McIntosh, W.C., 2000, 40Ar/39Ar ages of silicic volcanic rocks in the Heise Volcanic Field, eastern Snake River Plain, Idaho: Timing of volcanism and tectonism, submitted to the Idaho Geological Survey: Volume on "Tectonic and Magmatic Evolution of the Snake River Plain Volcanic Province".
Morgan, L.A. and members of project, 2000, Field Trip Guide to New Discoveries in Yellowstone National Park: Results from Integrated Geoscience Studies in the Greater Yellowstone Area.
Mineralogical and biologic mapping of parts of Yellowstone National Park
Kokaly, R.F., Despain, D.G., Clark, R.N., and K.E. Livo, 2000, Mapping the Biology of Yellowstone National Park Using Imaging Spectroscopy, submitted to the Geological Society of America Memoir on The Yellowstone Geo- Ecosystem
Livo, K.E., Clark, R.N., F.A. Kruse, and R.F. Kokaly, 2000, Characterization of Hydrothermally Altered Rock and Hot Spring Deposits at Yellowstone National Park using Imaging Spectroscopy Data, , submitted to the Geological Society of America Memoir on The Yellowstone Geo-Ecosystem.
Kokaly, R.F., Clark, R.N., Despain, D.G., and K.E. Livo, 2000, The effects of temporal sampling and changing spatial scales on the mapping of forest cover in Yellowstone National Park using imaging spectroscopy. To appear in: , Summaries of the 9th Annual JPL Airborne Earth Science Workshop (R.O. Green, Ed.), JPL Publication, February 23-25, 2000.
ER-2 high altitude IR photography acquired, and digital scanning (3.7-meter/pixel spatial resolution) for all AVIRIS flight lines still to be done. Full resolution images will be ~45 MBytes each. (See examples under our Arches National Park page.)
Revised Tricorder mapping partially complete and final products expected 1999 for the 1996 AVIRIS data.
Geochemistry, biochemistry, and stable isotope systematics of sublacustrine hydrothermal vents in Yellowstone Lake: A modern hot spring gold-depositing environment?
Shanks, W. C., III, Alt, J. C., Meier, A. L., and Klump, J. V., 1997, Geochemical studies of hydrothermal deposits related to sublacustrine hydrothermal vents in Yellowstone Lake: American Geophysical Union, 1997 fall meeting, v. 78, p. 808-809.
Balistrieri, L. S., Shanks, W. C., III, Cuhel, R. L., Aguilar, C., and Klump, J. V., 2000, The influence of sublacustrine hydrothermal vents on the geochemistry of the Yellowstone Lake Geo-Ecosystem: Major geothermal fluxes of potentially toxic elements: Geol. Soc. Amer. Special Pub., 125 Years of Yellowstone Science, The Yellowstone Geoecosystem.
Baseline geochemistry of rocks, stream sediments, and waters in the Greater Yellowstone Area, ID, MT, and WY
Chaffee, M.A., Hoffman, J.D., Tidball, R.R., and VanGosen, B.S., 1997, Discriminating between natural and anthropogenic anomalies in the surficial environment in Yellowstone National Park, Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming, in Wanty, R.B., Marsh, S.P., and Gough, L.P., eds., Program with Abstracts, 4th International Symposium on Environmental Geochemistry: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 97-496, pg. 16.
Chaffee, M.A., and Carlson, R.R., 1998, Environmental geochemistry in Yellowstone National Park: Distinguishing natural and anthropogenic anomalies: Yellowstone Science, vol. 6, no. 2, p. 29.
Chaffee, M.A., and Miller, W.R., 1999, Surficial geochemistry related to past mining in the Cooke City, MT, area and its environmental impact downstream in Yellowstone National Park, in Fletcher, W.K., and Elliott, I.L., eds., Symposium Program and Abstracts Volume, 19th International Geochemical Exploration Symposium, April 10-16, 1999, Vancouver, Canada, p. 62.
Chaffee, M.A., and Carlson, R.R., 2000, Environmental geochemistry in Yellowstone National Park—Natural and anthropogenic anomalies and their impact on the environment: Geol. Society of America Special Paper (in review).
Chaffee, M.A., Carlson, R.R., and King, H.D., 2000, Geology, scatology and wildlife health in Yellowstone National Park—The spatial correlation of potentially toxic elements ingested by elk and bison with geothermally affected areas: 2000 Abstracts with Program, Geological Society of America Rocky Mountain Section 52nd Annual Meeting, April 2000, Missoula, Montana, v. 32, no. 5, p. A5-A6.
Stable isotope studies of environmental influences on grizzly bear habitat
Rye, R.O. and Truesdell, A.H., 2000, The question of recharge to the deep thermal reservior underlying the geysers and hot spings of Yellowstone National Park: Geol. Soc. Amer. Memoir (125 Years of Geoscience in Yellowstone National Park).
Friedman, I., and Norton D.R., 2000, Is Yellowstone losing its steam: Chloride flux out of Yellowstone National Park: Geol. Soc. Amer. Memoir (125 Years of Geoscience in Yellowstone National Park).
Kester, C.L., Rye, R.O., Johnson, C.A., Schwartz,C., and Holmes, C., 2000, Sulfur isotope analysis of organic material by direct on-line combustion: Preliminary results and potential applications, Application of Stable Isotope Techniques to Ecological studies, Braunschweig, Germany May 07-11-2000 Book of Abstracts, Application of Stable Isotope Techniques to Ecological studies, Braunschweig, Germany May 07-11-2000 Book of Abstracts, p. 98.
Rye, R.O., and Truesdell, A.H., 2000, The question of recharge to the deep thermal reservior underlying the geysers and hot springs of Yellowstone National Park: submitted, Directors Approval 3/22/00, Geological Society America Special Publication.
Friedman, I. and Norton, D.R., 2000, Is Yellowstone losing its steam?: Chloride flus out of Yellowstone National Park; submitted, Directors Approval 3/22/00, Geological Society America Special Publication.
Kester, C.L., Rye, R.O., Johnson, C.A., Schwartz,C., Holmes, C., 2000, Sulfur isotope analysis of organic material by direct on-line combustion: Preliminary results and potential applications, Application of Stable Isotope Techniques to Ecological studies, Braunschweig, Germany May 07-11-2000 Book of Abstracts, p. 98.
Bathymetric, seismic, and magnetic surveys of Yellowstone Lake
Shanks, W. C., Morgan, L. A., Johnson, K. M., Lovalvo, D., Johnson, S. Y., Stephenson, W. J., Harlan, S. S., White, E. A., Waples, J., Klump, J. V., 1999, The floor of Yellowstone Lake is anything but quiet: New discoveries from sonar imaging, seismic reflection, and magnetic surveys: EOS, Transactions, American Geophysical Union, v. 80, p. F1162.
Morgan, L.A., Shanks, W.C., Lovalvo, D., Johnson, S.Y., Stephenson, W.J., Harlan, S.S., White, E.A., Waples, J., and Klump, J.V., 1999, New discoveries from the floor of Yellowstone Lake: Results from sonar imaging, seismic reflection, and magnetic surveys: Geological Society of America, Abstracts with Programs, v. 31, p. .A-207.
Wessells, S. and others, 2000, Yellowstone Lake Discovery: Towering Spires and Explosion Craters.
Morgan, L.A., Shanks, W.C., Johnson, K.M., Lovalvo, D., Johnson, S.Y., Stephenson, W.J., Harlan, S.S., Peirce, K.L., White, E.A., Waples, J., Klump, J.V., 1999, New Discoveries from the Floor of Yellowstone Lake: Yellowstone Science, February 2000.
Murphy, Sue Consolo and Morgan, Lisa, 1999, New Discoveries: The Underwater Spires of Yellowstone Lake, 1999 Natural Resources Year in Review (National Park Service publication).