Michael Poland

Michael Poland

Yellowstone National Park — the Year 2021 in review

By: - January 3, 2022

It was business as usual in 2021 at Yellowstone—earthquakes, ground deformation, geyser eruptions, and lots of field work! As is tradition, this first Caldera Chronicles of the new year takes a look back at what happened in Yellowstone during the previous 12 months. Yellowstone is a very active place in terms of seismicity.  Typically the University […]

Why can’t we drill in Yellowstone to stop eruptions, make power?

By: - December 21, 2021

Drilling is often suggested as a means of preventing Yellowstone from erupting. It seems like a reasonable idea, but the volcano doesn’t work that way. And while it might be possible to generate power by geothermal drilling, that would risk disturbing the thermal features of Yellowstone—one-of-a-kind geologic and cultural treasures, with no way back when […]

Silver Gate was Mammoth before Mammoth Hot Springs

By: - September 8, 2021

Just south of Mammoth Hot Springs, near the north entrance of Yellowstone National Park, lies a jumble of white/gray rock known as the Hoodoos or, more formally, Silver Gate.  The origin of this deposit is a quintessential tale of the dynamic nature of Yellowstone. Imagine you have just arrived at the north entrance to Yellowstone […]

Meet Yellowstone National Park’s sibling, Taupō, New Zealand

By: - July 19, 2021

Yellowstone is not the only large caldera system in the world.  Caldera systems can be found all over the planet. In New Zealand, the Taupō caldera system shares many similarities with Yellowstone—a history of large eruptions, geysers and hot springs, and even earthquake swarms and ground deformation, some of which might be related to magmatic intrusions. […]

Where did that 60 million years go?

By: - June 14, 2021

Visitors to Mammoth Hot Springs in Yellowstone National Park might have noticed an odd geological feature near the top of Mount Everts—an unconformity! This juxtaposition of different rocks serves as a marker of missing history in the Yellowstone region. An unconformity at the top of Mount Everts is located where the Huckleberry Ridge Tuff, 2.1 million […]

The odd columns of Sheepeater Cliffs

By: - April 26, 2021

Visitors to Yellowstone might have noticed a small sign between Mammoth Hot Springs and Norris Junction that points down a side road to “Sheepeater Cliff.”  A short drive down this road reveals an exceptional example of a common feature of volcanic flows, columnar jointing. Sheepeater Cliffs is part of a basaltic lava flow that erupted north and […]