Home | Free Brochures | Bookstore | Vacation / Relocation Planner | Yellowstone National Park Tour | Search Our Site
Copyright © 2011 • New Times Media Corporation • All Rights Reserved

Geological Overview of the Norris Area
of Yellowstone National Park

Featuring three major fault lines and evidence of ancient glacial sculpting, the Norris Area is rich with geological wonders.

Norris-Mammoth Corridor Fault and Hebgen Lake Fault
Extending north from Norris, the Norris-Mammoth Corridor Fault runs through Mammoth on its journey to Gardiner, Montana. This fault intersects with the Hebgen Lake Fault at a 600,000 year old ring fracture created from the Yellowstone Caldera. The Hebgen Lake Fault, best known for triggering a 7.4 magnitude earthquake in 1959, runs from Norris past the park’s West Entrance in West Yellowstone, Montana. Together, these two faults are largely responsible for the Norris Geyser Basin’s dynamic activity.

Madison Fault
The Madison Fault owes its existence to the ancient Yellowstone Caldera eruption. After the massive volcano exploded, stream channels carved their way through the area’s extensive lava flows. The Madison Fault rests within these eroded channels and encompasses the Virginia Cascades and Gibbon Falls.

Glacial Remains
In glaring contrast to the region’s piping hot thermal features, glaciers also once occupied the Norris Area. As the glaciers sculpted valleys, raised mountains, and eventually began receding, the Norris Area’s underground thermal features altered the glacial moraines left behind. Glacial ice melted rapidly, and the resulting massive piles of debris and rock were shaped anew with the area’s steam and hot water.

Back to main Yellowstone National Park Information Directory