GEOL390 Special Field Studies Yellowstone, Aug. 19-28, 2018

Yellowstone is one of the world's largest volcanic systems and past eruptions from this system are some of the largest ever known to occur.  Though no historical eruptions of this volcano have occurred, there are many clues that a pool of magma still lingers below the surface, including hydrothermal activity, and frequent small earthquakes.  Participants in this field school will spent 10 days studying the geological history of the region, learn about the methods used to monitor and understand the volcano, and consider the hazards that such a large volcanic system poses to humans.

Tentative Itinerary

  • August 19th, 2018:  Early departure (5:00am ferry, Duke Point Terminal), border crossing, lots and lots of driving, motel nights in Idaho or Montana
  • August 20th, 2018: Field visits in Idaho or Montana, drive to Yellowstone area. Camp set-up at West Yellowstome KOA
  • August 21st-26th, 2018: Various field visits in Yellowstone National Park. Camping accommodations at West Yellowstone KOA. We may decide to move location midway through this period in order to access other parts of Yellowstone National Park.
  • August 27th-28th, 2018: Camp break down and begin drive back to Nanaimo. Field stops along the drive in Idaho, Montana, and Washington. Motel accommodation on night of 27th. Likely return time to Nanaimo: between 7:00-9:00pm on August 28th, 2018.

Potential Research Topics

  • Super-eruptions of Yellowstone and magma composition
  • Groundwater and hydrothermal systems
  • Geochemistry of hydrothermal systems and pools
  • Links between seismicity and volcanic eruptions at Yellowstone
  • North Americal tectonics and the Yellowstone Hot Spot
  • Eruptive history and dynamics along the Snake River Plain (Craters of the Moon region)
  • Sedimentary records of Yellowstone volcanism (pyroclastic flows and lahars)
  • Fluvial dynamics in a seismically- and volcanically-active, uplifting system
  • Origin and geochemistry of travertine deposits, and links to hydrothermal systems
  • Hazards of the Yellowstone region
  • Critical evaluation of the role of Hot Spot volcanism for Yellowstone/ Snake River dynamics
  • Major orogens of Western north America (Sevier and Laramide orogens)
  • Diagnostic mineralogies of Yellowstone super-eruptions

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