Date of Award


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Geophysics (MS)

College, School or Department Name

Department of Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences


Gregory Phillip Waite


Shear-wave splitting can be a useful technique for determining crustal stress fields in volcanic settings and temporal variations associated with activity. Splitting parameters were determined for a subset of local earthquakes recorded from 2000-2010 at Yellowstone. Analysis was automated using an unsupervised cluster analysis technique to determine optimum splitting parameters from 270 analysis windows for each event. Six stations clearly exhibit preferential fast polarization values sub-orthogonal to the direction of minimum horizontal compression. Yellowstone deformation results in a local crustal stress field differing from the regional field dominated by NE-SW extension, and fast directions reflect this difference rotating around the caldera maintaining perpendicularity to the rim. One station exhibits temporal variations concordant with identified periods of caldera subsidence and uplift. From splitting measurements, we calculated a crustal anisotropy of ~17-23% and crack density ~0.12-0.17 possibly resulting from stress-aligned fluid filled microcracks in the upper crust and an active hydrothermal system.