Aerial view of Grand Prismatic Spring in Midway
Geyser Basin. Mineral deposits next to the spring are
colored by microbes that thrive in hot water.
The Yellowstone Geologic database was designed with two purposes in mind:
- To integrate Yellowstone geographical, geological, and geophysical data and provide it in one central location
- To offer an online, almost real-time outlet for outreach and increased communication
What Lies Beneath
Most tourists to Yellowstone do not realize it, but they are standing atop the largest, most destructive type of volcano on Earth.
Beneath the Yellowstone region lies the largest active magmatic (molten rock) system in North America. Yellowstone's volcanism is responsible for the world's largest, most diverse collection of spectacular geysers, natural hot springs, mud pots, and steam vents.
The Volcano Observatory
In May 2001, the University of Utah and two federal agencies established the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory to strengthen monitoring of earthquakes and the gigantic slumbering volcano beneath Yellowstone National Park.
Dr. Robert Smith and his University of Utah colleagues operate a monitoring network at Yellowstone, including 22 seismic stations to measure quakes and six Global Positioning System satellite receivers to help survey movements of Earth's crust. Data from the instruments are recorded and analyzed at the University of Utah Seismograph Stations.
A Wealth of Research Data
This website offers an overview of geologic activity at Yellowstone, past and future. It also provides scientists with in-depth raw and interpretive data to help them more accurately predict future seismic and volcanic activity.
A Central Location for Data
The Yellowstone geologic database is an outgrowth of the need for an organized location for all data pertaining to the Yellowstone volcanic system. This database is termed GeoGIS. A GeoGIS database consists of data directly relating to earth system processes and in this case, Yellowstone volcanic processes and all related geologic information.
About the GeoGIS
As in all geographical information systems, each data set in the GeoGIS is referenced to the earth by a coordinate system, however, each dataset contains specific information about an earth process, such as gravity data, seismic velocity models, and geologic formations to name a few. This database is built upon an initial version of GeoGIS developed as a prototype version of the much expanded, web interactive and updated GIS system for the geology of Yellowstone National Park, the first and foremost national park, a true geologic national park.
Access Data Anywhere, Anytime
With the creation of the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory, a need arose for greater sharing of information. Through the database web site, any researcher or layperson has access to the majority of Yellowstone related data at any time and from virtually any place.