Yellowstone Volcano Bigger Than Originally Thought

A report presented to the Seismological Society of America says the magma reservoir beneath Yellowstone is 50% bigger than originally thought.

University of Utah’s Jamie Farrell has created a different picture of the magma chamber. Using data from the area’s earthquakes and the speed of the vibrations through solid rock and liquid magma led him to those conclusions.  It was originally thought the lava was in a series of pockets or blobs.  Now it is being described as the shape of a lumpy banana about 37 miles long, 18 miles wide and 3 to 7 miles deep.

For more information, see the article in Our Amazing Planet.

Yellowstone National Park roads are opening

Sequestration prompted the park administration to cut back its budget. This included delaying the opening of the park. Below average snow and help from the Wyoming Department of Transportation have helped the park earlier than expected.

The roads from West Yellowstone to Mammonth Hot Springs to Old Faithful opened April 19. Restroom facilities are also available at Madison Junction and Old Faithful with pay-at- the pump fuel available 24 hours a day at both the Upper and Lower Service Stations.

The Old Faithful Visitor Education Center, the Geyser Grill and the Bear Den Gift Shop have just opened. The Old Faithful Snow Lodge, Cabins and Restaurant, the Old Faithful Upper Store and the Lower Service Station convenience store all open for the season on Friday, May 3.

The road from the park’s North Entrance at Gardiner, Montana through Mammoth Hot Springs, and on to the Northeast Entrance and the communities of Cooke City and Silver Gate, Montana, is open all year.

Thanks to fundraising efforts by the communities of Cody and Jackson, Wyoming, crews and equipment from the Wyoming Department of Transportation have joined National Park Service efforts to clear park roads for visitor travel.  The progress of spring road clearing in Yellowstone can be seen on the web at http://www.nps.gov/yell/planyourvisit/plowing.htm.

If the weather holds out, the road from Norris Junction through Canyon and Fishing Bridge to the park’s East Entrance will open to travel Friday, May 3, as originally scheduled. Travel through the South Entrance to Grant Village, West Thumb Junction and on to Fishing Bridge is set to open as originally scheduled Friday, May 10. The road from West Thumb Junction to Old Faithful will open sometime after May 10.

Information on current conditions in the park is available online at http://www.nps.gov/yell/conditions.htm.

Yellowstone Audio Tour – Upper Loop

Cover of Lower Loop audio tour.
This 66-minute tour takes you on a 135 mile tour of the most popular sites in Yellowstone’s Upper Loop. You will travel through Norris Geyser Basin, the most volatile geyser basin in the park. At Norris cutoff, you can travel to the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. Next you will turn north over breathtaking Mount Washburn to Tower Falls. Many people consider this the most beautiful falls in the park. You can drive up to see a standing petrified tree. The mountain terrain will lead you to the incredible Mommoth Hot Springs and the National Park Headquarters. There are many more sites to see as you circle the Upper Loop like a natural wall of glass called Obsidian Cliff. Includes mileage chart.

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Yellowstone Audio Tour – Lower Loop

Cover of Lower Loop audio tour.
This 70-minute tour takes you on a 140 mile tour of the most popular sites in Yellowstone’s Lower Loop. You will travel from the West Entrance along the Madison River to Madison. From here you will turn south to Firehole Falls and Lower Geyser Basin. If you started your tour at 9:00 a.m., you should reach Old Faithful by lunchtime. From here, you travel west to West Thumb Geyser Basin, Lake Village on Yellowstone Lake, and Fishing Bridge. Next, you turn north to the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone with Upper and Lower Falls, Artist Point, and Canyon Village. West is Norris Geyser Basin and the return back to West Entrance. Includes mileage chart.

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