Lava pool beneath Yellowstone supervolcano twice as big as previously thought

November 2, 2013 WYOMINGYellowstone National park is the largest super-volcano on the continent and possibly the world. It’s an underground boiling cauldron of lava, but just how likely is it to erupt or do scientists have other concerns? “It’s been 640,000 since the last eruption,” says Jake Lowenstern, a scientist with the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory. The lava pool beneath Yellowstone National Park is more than twice as big as scientists previously believed, that’s according to new research from the Geological Society of America. Scientists from the University of Utah say the lake of molten lava is nearly 50 miles long and 12 miles wide. Jake Lowenstern, a scientist with the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory, says even a small eruption could cause a minor disaster. “It could cause damage to the rivers, some flooding, it’s going to put some ash into the air and the ash could certainly get out to the communities out here.” The park is known for the lava lake that fuels all the hot springs. Scientists don’t think the super-volcano will erupt, but the real risk to the region comes from earthquakes.
“There’s going to be more earthquakes, the ground is going to move more and molten rock can’t move up into this geyser system without causing explosions.” Researchers analyzed, get this, 4,500 earthquakes in and around Yellowstone from 1985 to 2013.  Scientists say the likelihood of a major quake greater than magnitude 7 is just over a tenth of a percent which is a thousand times more likely to happen then a super eruption. “We do have the Geyser system at Yellowstone can be unstable at time and it can hurl rocks and throw them out … We get earthquake swarms. We have the ground moving up and down at Yellowstone.” The last major earthquake in the area measured 7.3 and was in 1959. It was the most destructive earthquake ever recorded in the Rocky Mountains. “If you look at the time scale of Yellowstone, it has been active a couple million years, it has these things semi-regularly. There will be events again, but you might have to wait another 10,000 years before it happens.” Just in the last week, there have been 25 earthquakes in the park area according to geologists. The good news, the biggest one registered only 2.9. –KURL8
This entry was posted in Earth Changes, Earth Watch, Earth's core dynamics, Earthquake Omens?, High-risk potential hazard zone, Lithosphere collapse & fisssure, Magma Plume activity, Potential Earthchange hotspot, Seismic tremors, Tectonic plate movement, Time - Event Acceleration, Volcanic gas emissions, Volcano unrest. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Lava pool beneath Yellowstone supervolcano twice as big as previously thought

  1. betty says:

    They are Fracking Yellowstone, and they now know Fracking causes earthquakes. Isnt this a really stupid idea?


  2. Craig B. says:

    This isn’t exactly “new” news. About 15 years ago, I remember reading of a man that used to camp at a back-country lake there as a child. The dome has tipped a little…the trees and area where he camped as a child, are under 2-3 feet of water (at the time of his story), the far shore of the lake are a nicely established meadow. Quick changes for mother nature, are a man’s age to us.


  3. Irene C says:

    Here’s an interestng tidbit I found.

    Maine volcanoes (yes, Maine) among world’s biggest

    DENVER – Maine has supervolcanoes. Wait, Maine has volcanoes? Yes, and their eruptions could have been among the biggest ever on Earth, geoscientist Sheila Seaman reported Tuesday at the Geological Society of America’s annual meeting.

    “Long before there were these things called supervolcanoes, we’ve known about giant, big, horrific silicic volcanic eruptions,” said Seaman, of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. The most massive of these blasts in recent history was Toba, which blew up an island in Indonesia 2.5 million years ago. The explosion heaved 700 cubic miles of magma out of the Earth’s crust.

    Around 420 million years ago, a series of super-eruptions dropped thick piles of ash and lava fragments along the proto-East Coast. There are at least four volcanoes spread out along 100 miles of Maine’s coast, Seaman said.

    The huge volcanic rock piles are consistent with caldera-forming eruptions, Seaman said. These explosions empty a magma chamber, leaving a gaping wound in the Earth think Yellowstone National Park, or the San Juan volcanic field in Colorado.


  4. Mike Brosch says:

    Fracking causes earthquakes? Isn’t an earthquake the result of tectonic plate shift when forces become too great to be contained, so wouldn’t it seem better to pump in some lube so the plates don’t build up so much pressure?


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