• An aerial view of Old Faithful erupting taken from Observation Point with the Old Faithful Inn to the side.

    Yellowstone

    National Park ID,MT,WY

Caldera

Yellowstone's caldera
 
At Yellowstone and some other volcanoes, some scientists theorize that the earth's crust fractures and cracks in a concentric or ring-fracture pattern. At some point these cracks reach the magma “reservoir,” release the pressure, and the volcano explodes. The huge amount of material released causes the volcano to collapse into a huge crater—a caldera. (Illustration based on Smith, R. B., and Siegel, L., 2000, Windows into the Earth; New York, Oxford University Press.)

Did You Know?

Fire in Yellowstone Pineland in 1988

The 1988 fires affected 793,880 acres or 36 percent of the park. Five fires burned into the park that year from adjacent public lands. The largest, the North Fork Fire, started from a discarded cigarette. It burned more than 410,000 acres.