Crustal deformation of the Yellowstone-Snake River Plain volcano-tectonic system: Campaign and continuous GPS observations, 1987-2004 Academic Article


  • The Yellowstone–Snake River Plain tectonomagmatic province resulted from Late Tertiary volcanism in western North America, producing three large, caldera-forming eruptions at the Yellowstone Plateau in the last 2 Myr. To understand the kinematics and geodynamics of this volcanic system, the University of Utah conducted seven GPS campaigns at 140 sites between 1987 and 2003 and installed a network of 15 permanent stations. GPS deployments focused on the Yellowstone caldera, the Hebgen Lake and Teton faults, and the eastern Snake River Plain. The GPS data revealed periods of uplift and subsidence of the Yellowstone caldera at rates up to 15 mm/yr. From 1987 to 1995, the caldera subsided and contracted, implying volume loss. From 1995 to 2000, deformation shifted to inflation and extension northwest of the caldera. From 2000 to 2003, uplift continued to the northwest while caldera subsidence was renewed. The GPS observations also revealed extension across the Hebgen Lake fault and fault-normal contraction across the Teton fault. Deformation rates of the Yellowstone caldera and Hebgen Lake fault were converted to equivalent total moment rates, which exceeded historic seismic moment release and late Quaternary fault slip-derived moment release by an order of magnitude. The Yellowstone caldera deformation trends were superimposed on regional southwest extension of the Yellowstone Plateau at up to 4.3 ± 0.2 mm/yr, while the eastern Snake River Plain moved southwest as a slower rate at 2.1 ± 0.2 mm/yr. This southwest extension of the Yellowstone–Snake River Plain system merged into east-west extension of the Basin-Range province.

publication date

  • 2007

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)


  • 112


  • B3

times cited

  • 43