The Hydrothermal Dynamics of Yellowstone LAKE (HD-YLAKE) project seeks to understand how earthquakes, volcanic processes, and climate affect the hydrothermal system located beneath Yellowstone Lake. The northern half of Yellowstone Lake lies inside the Yellowstone volcanic caldera, and hosts more than 250 hydrothermal vents and dozens of explosion craters that are hidden from view on the lake floor. Though difficult to access, this hydrothermal system provides an ideal natural laboratory to study cause-and-effect relationships between tectonic, magmatic, climatic, and hydrothermal processes because it is unusually sensitive to perturbations.
With major funding from the National Science Foundation (Integrated Earth Systems program) and major support from the US Geological Survey (Yellowstone Volcano Observatory), the HD-YLAKE project uses novel techniques and instrumentation to study the lake floor vents. Our research activities include components of geochemistry, seismology, geology, geodesy, heat flow, micropaleontology, limnology, paleoclimatology, statistics, analytical modeling, and numerical modeling, and our multi-disciplinary team includes investigators from more than 10 different institutions and organizations inside the US and France.