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U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2011-5012

Gas and Isotope Chemistry of Thermal Features in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

By Deborah Bergfeld, Jacob B. Lowenstern, Andrew G. Hunt, W.C. Pat Shanks III, and William C. Evans


Thumbnail of and link to report PDF (7.9 MB)

This report presents 130 gas analyses and 31 related water analyses on samples collected from thermal features at Yellowstone between 2003 and 2009. An overview of previous studies of gas emissions at Yellowstone is also given. The analytical results from the present study include bulk chemistry of gases and waters and isotope values for water and steam (δ18O, δD), carbon dioxide (δ13C only), methane (δ13C only), helium, neon, and argon. We include appendixes containing photos of sample sites, geographic information system (GIS) files including shape and kml formats, and analytical results in spreadsheets. In addition, we provide a lengthy discussion of previous work on gas chemistry at Yellowstone and a general discussion of the implications of our results. We demonstrate that gases collected from different thermal areas often have distinct chemical signatures, and that differences across the thermal areas are not a simple function of surface temperatures or the type of feature. Instead, gas chemistry and isotopic composition are linked to subsurface lithologies and varying contributions from magmatic, crustal, and meteoric sources.



  • Appendix 1 PDF. Site photos and summary information for Yellowstone gas and water samples (8.2 MB)
  • Appendix 2 KMZ. Google Earth file linked to sample locations (29 kB)
  • Appendix 3 ZIP. ArcGIS shape file with gas geochemical data and locations (29 kB)


  • Tables 1–4 folder. These tables are included in the text linked above and also provided here in several file formats (336 kB total)
  • This report is available only on the Web.

For additional information:
Contact YVO
Volcano Science Center, Yellowstone Volcano Observatory
U.S. Geological Survey
345 Middlefield Road, MS 910
Menlo Park, CA 94025

Part of this report is presented in Portable Document Format (PDF); the latest version of Adobe Reader or similar software is required to view it. Download the latest version of Adobe Reader, free of charge.

Suggested citation:

Bergfeld, Deborah, Lowenstern, J.B., Hunt, A.G., Shanks, W.C.P,, III, and Evans, W.C., 2011, Gas and isotope chemistry of thermal features in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2011-5012, 26 p. and data files.




Background and Previous Work








three of appendixes

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