Scientists find Yellowstone’s volcano is bigger than previously thought

April 18, 2013SALT LAKE CITY Yellowstone’s underground volcanic plumbing is bigger and better connected than scientists thought, researchers reported here today (April 17) at the Seismological Society of America’s annual meeting. “We are getting a much better understanding of the volcanic system of Yellowstone,” said Jamie Farrell, a seismology graduate student at the University of Utah. “The magma reservoir is at least 50 percent larger than previously imaged.” Knowing the volume of molten magma beneath Yellowstone is important for estimating the size of future eruptions, Farrell told OurAmazingPlanet. Geologists believe Yellowstone sits over a hotspot, a plume of superheated rock rising from Earth’s mantle. As North America slowly drifted over the hotspot, the Yellowstone plume punched through the continent’s crust, leaving a bread-crumb-like trail of calderas created by massive volcanic eruptions along Idaho’s Snake River Plain, leading straight to Yellowstone. The last caldera eruption was 640,000 years ago. Smaller eruptions occurred in between and after the big blasts, most recently about 70,000 years ago. The magma chamber seen in the new study fed these smaller eruptions and is the source of the park’s amazing hydrothermal springs and geysers. It also creates the surface uplift seen in the park, said Bob Smith, a seismologist at the University of Utah and author of a related study presented at the meeting. The volcanic plume of partly molten rock that feeds the Yellowstone supervolcano. Yellow and red indicate higher conductivity, green and blue indicate lower conductivity. Made by University of Utah geophysicists and computer scientists, this is the first large-scale ‘geoelectric’ image of the Yellowstone hotspot. “This crustal magma body is a little dimple that creates the uplift,” Smith said. “It’s like putting your finger under a rubber membrane and pushing it up and the sides expand.”  A clearer picture of Yellowstone’s shallow magma chamber emerged from earthquakes, whose waves change speed when they travel through molten or solid rock. Farrell analyzed nearby earthquakes to build a picture of the magma chamber. The underground magma resembles a mutant banana, with a knobby, bulbous end poking up toward the northeast corner of Yellowstone National Park, and the rest of the tubular fruit angling shallowly southwest. It’s a single connected chamber, about 37 miles (60 kilometers) long, 18 miles (30 km) wide, and 3 to 7 miles (5 to 12 km) deep. Previously, researchers had thought the magma beneath Yellowstone was in separate blobs, not a continuous pocket. The shallowest magma, in the northeast, also matches up with the park’s most intense hydrothermal activity, Farrell said. The new study is the best view yet of this zone, which lies outside the youngest caldera rim. Additional molten rock, not imaged in this study, also exists deeper beneath Yellowstone, scientists think. –Yahoo
This entry was posted in Earth Changes, Earth Watch, Earthquake Omens?, High-risk potential hazard zone, Lithosphere collapse & fisssure, Magma Plume activity, Magnetic pole migration, Potential Earthchange hotspot, Seismic tremors, Signs of Magnetic Field weakening, Time - Event Acceleration, Volcano Watch. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Scientists find Yellowstone’s volcano is bigger than previously thought

  1. tdenbeck says:

    I stop to think about the location and what it means in terms of the overall picture


    • juju says:

      It means than in case of a eruption more destruction?
      God MERCY, please…. How great and mighty YOU ARE all power and all love, help us to deserve the gift of faith….


      • Bro.Nick says:

        @ JuJu – It is interesting that man knows so very little – but thinks that he knows so much. The Holy Bible prophesied over two thousand years ago that there will be many physical ‘indicators’ in these ‘end-of-the-end times’ that we are now living in including Volcanoes and Earthquakes – some of which will be of magnitudes never before seen by modern man!
        CHRISTians – trust in “the LORD JEHOVAH” – who never ‘slumbers nor sleeps’ – read, study, and believe “the words of the LORD” and He will help you.
        – NO MAN ever ‘deserves’ anything from “the Lord God Almighty for CHRISTians are saved “by grace through faith”!


    • John B. says:

      It means the USA would be done as an independent nation. And the worlds climate would be seriously affected – atmosphere, crops, water. Geopolitical upheaval would ensue.


  2. Irene C says:

    Well, this is a sobering piece of information, especially with all the tremors going on there.


  3. Tim says:

    Good to know the blast will be twice as big


  4. Don Clarke says:

    I live less than 100 miles from Yellowstone and they say if it blows, we won’t live to tell anyone about it because we’re so close to ground zero. My wife & I have talked about it and we are both ready for that possibility. For us it would mean going home, because we are both born-again, saved believers of Christ Jesus and upon our death we would go to be with Jesus in heaven. We are going to heaven NOT because we are better or more perfect than anyone else. In fact, we struggle with the same things everyone does, like lying, greed, unforgiveness, etc. The difference is we have asked for and received Jesus Christ into our hearts & lives. That’s it, that’s all! Now it’s not that we’re in any hurry to die, no, but when we do we are ready to “go home” to glory! BTW, I used to be an atheist, in case you’re asking yourself if I grew up sounding like a preacher. Believe me, I was far from it. In my ignorance, used to make fun of people like me. I’m not ignorant any more, thank God.


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