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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 167 gas analyses and 59 related water analyses on samples collected from thermal features at Yellowstone between 2003 and 2012. 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.

Revised October 27, 2014

First posted May 12, 2011



  • Appendix 1 PDF. Site photos and summary information for Yellowstone gas and water samples (5.9 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 XLS. These tables are included in the text linked above and also provided here in several file formats (226 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

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Suggested citation:

Bergfeld, Deborah, Lowenstern, J.B., Hunt, A.G., Shanks, W.C.P., III, and Evans, W.C., 2014, Gas and isotope chemistry of thermal features in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming (ver. 1.1, September 2014): U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2011–5012, 28 p. and data files,




Background and Previous Work








three of appendixes

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