Scientists Discover ‘Geological Hazards’ Beneath Yellowstone

According to newly disclosed data, researchers investigating the area around Yellowstone National Park have uncovered a web of geological dangers that lay under the park’s surface.

First established in the United States in 1872, Yellowstone National Park is mostly situated in Wyoming. With more hot springs and geysers than any other location on the planet, this park occupies the summit of a dormant volcano.

Thanks to cutting-edge lidar surface imaging, geologists now have a crystal-clear picture of the undeveloped terrain in Paradise Valley and a corridor close to Yellowstone National Park’s northern entrance.

Vegetation in Paradise Valley often blocks the view of the ground, making research into the area challenging.

This location is geologically important in the US, and the data collected using sensors and lasers shows that there are relics of big earthquakes in the area. The visual wounds from these earthquakes and landslides are shedding light on the current dangers that millions of people in the neighboring states face.

The lidar (light detection and ranging) sensor aboard an aircraft surveys broad regions of the ground. It sends pulsed lasers to the ground and measures the exterior area as they reflect off the ground and other objects.

Lidar data was combined with ground control data and aerial GPS to create a high-resolution digital image of the bare earth, enabling scientists to digitally “erase” vegetation.

According to a geophysicist with the U.S. Geological Survey, Michael Poland, the possibility of a volcanic eruption is unlikely in our lifetimes, but geologists continue to be fascinated by the fact that Yellowstone National Park, a protected area spanning approximately 3,500 square miles, is located atop a volcanic hotspot. Hydrothermal explosions and destructive earthquakes are more likely to happen in the near future. It’s still vital to investigate the region.

The new information concerning Yellowstone is now being added to a statewide fault and landslide database by the Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology.