Undine Falls, Lava Creek, Yellowstone National Park

Photograph of Undine Falls and basalt flow, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Photograph by S.R. Brantley on 19 May 2002

Lava Creek spills over the surface of a basalt lava flow that was emplaced about 700,000 years ago. Named after the falls, the Undine Falls Basalt erupted before Yellowstone's third caldera-forming explosive eruption that ejected the Lava Creek Tuff (named after Lava Creek) about 640,000 years ago. Scientists first distinguished the Lava Creek Tuff from the Huckleberry Tuff about 3 km downstream from the falls in the 1960s. This was the first clue that Yellowstone's history included more than one caldera-forming eruption.