This study evaluates obsidian-hydration dating in postglacial fluvial terraces cut into an outwash plain near West Yellowstone, Montana. Fluvial transport fractures obsidian grains. However, some old hydration rinds may be preserved, thus, a grain may record several fracturing events. The most recent fracturing event at West Yellowstone is recorded in surface sediments from all of the terraces, which were cut in a shorter period of time than the technique can discern. They formed about 19,000 ± 1000 yr ago, using published hydration-rate estimates and a mean rind thickness of 6.34 ± 0.14 μm (1 SE). Alternatively, the application of published hydration-rate constants for the Obsidian Cliff flow with an estimated effective hydration temperature of 1.4°C yield an age of 24,400 ± 1100 yr (1 SE). Thicker rinds record fracturing during Bull Lake glaciation and cooling cracks from the emplacement of several source flows. Much of the observed spread in rind thicknesses (6.34 ± 1.69 μm: 1 SD) is probably the result of chemically induced variations in hydration rate. Terrace ages based on a single rind would range from 13,000 to 39,000 yr (±1 SD). Therefore, it is inappropriate to (1) use a set of hydration-rate constants determined from a single sample to calculate ages for multiple artifacts or geological samples, (2) date an archaeological or geological event on the basis of a single artifact, or (3) generate a chronostratigraphy on the basis of individual dates as a function of depth. Multiple evaluations of source chemistry and hydration rates and multiple rind measurements are required to date fracturing events.