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WSGS Launches Web Map Showcasing Roadside Geology to see when Traveling to Yellowstone National Park

Colter Bay

Yellowstone became the world’s first national park in 1872. The unique geology found inside the park is a big attraction, bringing millions of tourists to Wyoming every year. However, the Cowboy State has plenty of other fascinating geology to see on the way to the park.

In celebration of the 150th anniversary of Yellowstone National Park, the Wyoming State Geological Survey (WSGS) developed an interactive web map showcasing some of the roadside geology along different routes throughout the state on the way to Yellowstone. The web-based application can be viewed on mobile device or desktop and is free to access.

“From Old Faithful to the Mammoth Terraces, there is incredible geology found in the park,” says Christina George, outreach and publications manager. “The goal of this map, however, is to highlight the unbelievable geology you can see as you are getting to the park, enhancing road trips for residents and visitors.”

More than 50 sites dot the map, ranging from well-known places like Devils Tower, to colorful badlands, meandering rivers, majestic mountain ranges, and remarkable rock formations. Some stops, such as state parks, have visitor centers or highway pullouts that can be accessed, while others, like the red beds north of Rawlins, are more suitable to view while simply driving by. There are interpretive signs at some of the sites, and many of the write-ups on the app include links to external websites that offer more information.

George and James Amato created the app using ESRI’s story builder, a web-based GIS platform.

“Whether or not you’re going to Yellowstone, the app showcases many fantastic geologic points of interest across the state,” says Amato, WSGS map editor.

For those wanting to learn more about the geology inside the park, the WSGS has a Geology of Yellowstone interactive web map with multiple geospatial datasets relating to the geology of Yellowstone. The map was developed in cooperation with the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory, of which the WSGS is a consortium member.

“There are many hidden geologic gems in Wyoming,” says Dr. Erin Campbell, Director of the WSGS and State Geologist. “Even a seasoned traveler can learn something new from this easy-to-use interactive map. We hope it enhances visitors’ enjoyment as they cross our spectacular state on their way to Yellowstone.”

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