The revelation of new data has revealed a network of “geological hazards” lying beneath a portion of Yellowstone National Park, according to scientists who study the land in that region. With the help of lidar technology, which used a sensor and laser to map the ground beneath dense forests and other foliage, the data shed light on prehistoric landslides and huge earthquakes that permanently impacted one of the most important geological areas and potentially dangerous on the planet. The United States. The visible scars left by those landslides and earthquakes are also helping scientists better understand the current risks of living in surrounding states, which are now home to millions of people.
Advanced surface geological mapping, a process that maps the topography of a region and can help scientists assess the risks of earthquakes, volcanic eruptions or landslides that may occur there, recently provided geologists and scientists at the land the clearest view yet of bare soil in Paradise Valley and along a corridor near Yellowstone’s northern entrance. Paradise Valley surrounds a stretch of the Yellowstone River in southwestern Montana, just north of the national park.
The ground surface in that region is typically obscured by ground cover vegetation, making some important terrain features difficult to see and study. But, using lidar technology, scientists have been able to gather a wealth of data suggesting that the terrain in that region is littered with the remains of past major earthquakes to a previously unknown extent.
Lidar, which stands for “light detection and ranging,” uses a sensor typically mounted on an aircraft to survey large areas of land. It emits pulsed laser toward the ground and collects information about the surface area as those pulses of light are reflected from the ground surface and any other objects along its path. In conjunction with aerial GPS and ground control data, information collected using lidar technology was used to build a high-resolution digital model of bare earth allowing scientists to virtually “remove” vegetation.
Yellowstone National Park sits atop a volcanic point that has become an enormous source of intrigue for geologists despite being very unlikely for an eruption during our lifetimes. However studying this area is still important due to damaging earthquakes likely in foreseeable future.
Discoveries made by peeling away dense foliage covering terrain are allowing geologists hazard specialists significantly improve hazard maps by enabling better characterization location geometry activity faults landslides known wrote Yann Gavillot geologist Montana Bureau Mines Geology’s Geological Hazards Program
This same method helped them discover active faults along periphery Yellowstone August 2022 And after latest study geologists could see first time detailed network fault scarps uneven displacements grounds surface one side fault moved vertically against other These breaks grounds caused earthquakes
They extensions fault called Emigrant fault extends more than 33 miles almost continuously Tom Miner Creek near northwest corner Wyoming Livingston Montana Gavillot said scientists consider them evidence earthquakes Past magnitude greater occurred area
The data has also revealed steep faults near Gardiner Montana likely related another fault system East Gallatin-Reese Creek extends into Yellowstone National Park It also showed numerous large prehistoric landslides covering landscape exceptional clarity according Gavillot Some prehistoric landslides were so large their path extended downhill miles crossing blocked part Yellowstone River Yankee Jim Canyon creating temporary lake
The Montana Bureau Mines Geology working update statewide fault landslide database new information Paradise Valley Yellowstone’s northern entrance
These new data sets provide information needed improve assessments potentially hazardous faults landslides future updates county- state-level mitigation efforts Paradise Valley northern Yellowstone National Park contribute US Geological Survey’s national seismic hazard maps Gavillot said
According to source.