Temporal and seasonal variations of the hot spring basin hydrothermal system, Yellowstone National Park, USA

Cheryl Jaworowski, Henry Heasler, Christopher Neale, Sivarajan Saravanan, Ashish Masih

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Monitoring Yellowstone National Park's hydrothermal systems and establishing hydrothermal baselines are the main goals of an ongoing collaborative effort between Yellowstone National Park's Geology program and Utah State University's Remote Sensing Services Laboratory. During the first years of this research effort, improvements were made in image acquisition, processing and calibration. In 2007, a broad-band, forward looking infrared (FLIR) camera (8-12 microns) provided reliable airborne images for a hydrothermal baseline of the Hot Spring Basin hydrothermal system. From 2008 to 2011, night-time, airborne thermal infrared image acquisitions during September yielded temperature maps that established the temporal variability of the hydrothermal system. A March 2012 airborne image acquisition provided an initial assessment of seasonal variability. The consistent, high-spatial resolution imagery (~1 m) demonstrates that the technique is robust and repeatable for generating corrected (atmosphere and emissivity) and calibrated temperature maps of the Hot Spring Basin hydrothermal system. Atmospheric conditions before and at flight-time determine the usefulness of the thermal infrared imagery for geohydrologic applications, such as hydrothermal monitoring. Although these ground-surface temperature maps are easily understood, quantification of radiative heat from the Hot Spring Basin hydrothermal system is an estimate of the system's total energy output. Area is a key parameter for calculating the hydrothermal system's heat output. Preliminary heat calculations suggest a radiative heat output of ~56 MW to 62 MW for the central Hot Spring Basin hydrothermal system. Challenges still remain in removing the latent solar component within the calibrated, atmospherically adjusted, and emissivity corrected night-time imagery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6587-6610
Number of pages24
JournalRemote Sensing
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Airborne
  • Hot spring basin
  • Hydrothermal
  • Night-time
  • Radiative heat
  • Thermal infrared
  • Yellowstone

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Temporal and seasonal variations of the hot spring basin hydrothermal system, Yellowstone National Park, USA'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this