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Experts will gather to create all-encompassing report about Old Faithful geothermal system

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Yellowstone National Park has invited acclaimed geological experts from around the world to discuss Old Faithful’s geothermal system, and file a report on what is – and is not yet – known about it.

Park personnel will also speak about the needs of tourists, historic buildings and other infrastructure.

Park Geologist Hank Heasler says the goal is to create a report that will help park managers decide what to look at when considering future infrastructure management plans.

“I‘m hoping that the panel can take the massive about of research that’s already been accomplished in this area, and distill it into a document that is very understandable and usable by both park managers and visitors.”

Heasler says there are a lot of unknowns about the relationship between the geothermal system and park infrastructure.

“In the Old Faithful area, there are storm drains. The water is being channeled off the parking lots. And, is that a cause for concern because the water’s no longer infiltrating into the ground? Well, questions like that, we hope this panel will help address.”

Heasler says Yellowstone wants scientific data on which to base any future infrastructure decisions. A Yellowstone spokesman did not respond before deadline to requests for comment about whether relevant infrastructure changes were in the works.

The three days of panel discussions will begin at 8 a.m. on Monday. Meetings will be open to the public.

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