University of Montana Western logo.
Apply Visit More Info

Geology Professor Rob Thomas is a Consultant for “Yellowstone Live”

July 25, 2019

Rob Thomas, Professor of Geology at UMW, is a consultant for “Yellowstone Live,” a program featured on the National Geographic Channel.

During the summer of 2018, head of research for “Yellowstone Live” reached out to Thomas, asking him to serve as a consultant for the show.

Thomas also taught several classes for the Yellowstone Forever Institute, introducing thousands of students to the parks wildlife, geology and history.

Thomas is the co-author of “Roadside Geology of Yellowstone Country,” a book that explores Yellowstone National Park in depth through it’s broad geology.

Though not in Yellowstone National Park while on air, Thomas is provided information in real time via phone while the broadcast is live on TV. He is given a question or photo taken on air of a geological feature and must quickly determine where and what it is. Afterwards, he provides a scientific explanation for the various phenomena and relays it to the show’s correspondents, where the information is then shared with the public on live TV.

“My involvement with ‘Yellowstone Live’ provides exposure for our Environmental Science program at Montana Western. It introduces me to a new form of public education in the sciences, live TV from a national park!” said Thomas.

Thomas believes his experience may be an advantage for students who are looking for internships or jobs in the Environmental Sciences, especially students who are interested in becoming a park ranger.

At Montana Western, students take one course at a time for 18 days before moving on to the next course, which allows students to be fully immersed in their education. This unique educational model is called Experience One.

To learn more about Montana Western’s block scheduling system, please visit the Experience One webpage.

If you are interested in watching “Yellowstone Live,” please visit