Increased scientific surveillance of Yellowstone has detected significant changes in its vast underground volcanic system. The system is centered on an enormous caldera that is characterized by geologically infrequent but very large volcanic eruptions.
To strengthen the ability of scientists to track and respond to changes in Yellowstone’s activity, the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory (YVO) was created here in 2001. YVO is a cooperative partnership between the University of Utah, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), and Yellowstone National Park, National Park Service (NPS).
The observatory is a long-term, instrument-based monitoring program designed for observing volcanic and earthquake activity in the Yellowstone National Park region. The principal goals of the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory are:
- provide seismic and GPS monitoring that enables reliable and timely warnings of possible renewed volcanism and related hazards in the Yellowstone region,
- notify the NPS, other local officials, and the public of significant seismic or volcanic events,
- improve scientific understanding of tectonic and magmatic processes that influence ongoing seismicity, surface deformation, and hydrothermal activity,
- assess the long-term potential hazards of volcanism, seismicity, and explosive hydrothermal activity in the region,
- communicate effectively the results of these efforts to responsible authorities and to the public, and
- improve coordination and cooperation among the University of Utah, NPS, and the USGS.
The Yellowstone Volcano Observatory provides real-time-monitoring data.