The Yellowstone-Teton Epicenter


Research Interests

Robert B. Smith

Bob Smith's research interests are in seismology, tectonophysics, crustal deformation using GPS (Global Positioning System), and active tectonics. Current research projects include: 1) geodynamics of and evolution of the Yellowstone hotspot and the Yellowstone caldera, 2) seismicity and volcanic hazards of Yellowstone and operation of the Yellowstone seismograph network, and 3) crustal deformation and earthquake hazards of the Wasatch and Teton faults using GPS and fault modeling. Teaching includes tectonophysics and elastic waves, theoretical seismology, earthquake seismology and earthquake hazards, and introductory earthquakes and volcanoes.

Yellowstone Volcano Observatory

The Yellowstone Volcano Observatory (YVO) was established in May 2001 to study and monitor the Yellowstone Volcanic Field. The Observatory is a collaboration between the University of Utah, the U.S. Geological Survey, and Yellowstone National Park. For more information, visit
The University of Utah YVO page
The US Geological Survey YVO page
The Yellowstone National Park home page


Book Published - Windows Into the Earth

Smith, R. B. and L. Siegel, 2000, Windows into the Earth: The Geologic Story of Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks, Oxford University Press, New York.

Millions of years ago, the North American continent was dragged over the world's largest continental hotspot, a huge column of hot and molten rock rising from the Earth's interior that traced a 50-mile wide, 500-mile-long path northeastward across Idaho. Generating cataclysmic volcanic eruptions and large earthquakes, the hotspot helped lift the Yellowstone Plateau to more than 7,000 feet, creating the jewel of the U.S. national park system: Yellowstone. At the same time, forces stretching apart the western U.S. created the mountainous glory of Grand Teton National Park.

This book offers expert guidance through this awe-inspiring terrain, bringing to life the forces that have shaped--and continue to shape--the greater Yellowstone-Teton region. Over seventy illustrations--including fifty-two in full color--illuminate the breathtaking beauty of the landscape, while two final chapters provide driving tours of the parks to help visitors enjoy and understand the region's wonders. Fascinating and informative, this book affords us a striking new perspective on Earth's creative forces.