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Yellowstone National Park to be remapped by Montana State University

 

Researchers from Montana State University have started to update the geologic map of Yellowstone National Park in the United States.

Spread across Wyoming, Montana and Idaho, the 8991km² Yellowstone National Park is around the same size of Puerto Rico.

The United States Geological Survey mapped out the park in the 1960s and 1970s. Due to its large size, it was split into 34 sections which were put together to create an complete geologic map.

Different interpretations and details were positioned next to each piece of the map as a result of this method which created a challenge for small-scale geologic mapping in the region.

Researchers from Montana State University have set out to improve the accuracy of the map at smaller scales to correct particular issues.

It will involve geologists to visit hundreds of sites across Yellowstone to seek contacts between rock units.

According to the Casper Star-Tribune, there are more than 700 boundary problems with the current geologic map.

The challenge for the researchers is that many of the problems relating to the old geologic maps are located in backcountry, requiring klong distance hiking. Geologists are then required to find and correct data points by identifying suitable outcrops, such as a cliff face or scatterings of cobblestones.

Around 10 per cent of problems were found after six weeks in the field with more trips planned for the remainder of this year and 2021.

The geologic map is expected to be completed by 2022.