Hayden's U. S. Geological Survey: Expedition to Yellowstone (1872)

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The main mission of the 1872 expedition was to document the geology and topography of the Yellowstone area, particularly the Snake and Missouri Rivers. John M. Coulter and Assistant Naturalist Walter Platt collected numerous fossil, animal, and plant specimens. Coulter also made observations on the differences in the plant life in the various environments they encountered, from the desert to the Geyser Basins. The first leg of their journey went through the region between Ogden and the Teton Basin. Additional Sources: Rodgers, Andrew Denny. John Merle Coulter: Missionary in Science. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1944. USDA PLANTS database. United States Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service. National Plant Data Center. http://plants.usda.gov/ (for information on plant species Dicentra uniflora, Calochortus nuttallii, Pinus ponderosa, and Botrychium lunarioides; accessed July 6, 2010).


  • Ferdinand Vandiveer Hayden and the Founding of the Yellowstone National Park. Washington: U. S. Government Printing Office, 1973.
  • Hayden, F. V. Sixth Annual Report of the United States Geological Survey of the Territories, Embracing Portions of Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, and Utah; Being a Report of Progress of the Explorations for the Year 1872. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1873.
  • Hayden, F. V. Preliminary Report of the United States Geological Survey of Montana and Portions of Adjacent Territories; Being a Fifth Annual Report of Progress. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1872.

Date Range

1872 - 1872


  • Geology
  • Plants
  • Botany


  • Yellowstone National Park
  • Montana
  • United States
  • Wyoming


Expedition name