Tag Archives | Yellowstone

Vast Magma Reservoir Found Under Yellowstone National Park

Do you remember that one of the 2012 end times predictions was an eruption of the supercaldera under Yellowstone National Park? Needless to say, that didn’t happen, but that’s not to say it never will. Scientists have discovered a vast reservoir of molten magma under Yellowstone. Really vast. New Scientist reports on the implications:

A massive chamber holding enough magma to fill the Grand Canyon more than 11 times over is hiding beneath the steaming volcanic system of Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming.

Yellowstone magma chamber.jpg

Yellowstone magma chamber

We knew of a smaller magma chamber closer to surface, holding some 10,000 cubic kilometres of magma and feeding heat upwards. The newly discovered reservoir sits under it and has a volume of 46,000 cubic kilometres. Together, the two form the largest known magma reservoir in the world.

“We can’t say definitively that this is the biggest magma reservoir in the world, but we currently don’t know of any other that has been imaged that is as large as the two we see beneath Yellowstone,” says Fan-Chi Lin of the University of Utah in Salt Lake City.

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Melting Roads in Yellowstone

A Yellowstone National Park road shows damage caused by the park's ever-changing thermal features. Hot, damaged pavement has prompted park officials to close Firehole Lake Drive and access to some geysers and thermal features at the height of summer tourist season. (Yellowstone National Park)

A Yellowstone National Park road shows damage caused by the park’s ever-changing thermal features. Hot, damaged pavement has prompted park officials to close Firehole Lake Drive and access to some geysers and thermal features at the height of summer tourist season. (Yellowstone National Park)

Severe melting roads in Yellowstone National Park causes road closures. The park sits on a volcano caldera (a depression in the ground created by the collapse of land after a volcanic eruption), so hot ground temperatures are normal. However, the current conditions are somewhat abnormal

via LA Times:

The more than 3-mile-long Firehole Lake Drive, an offshoot of the park’s Grand Loop Road located between the Old Faithful geyser and Madison Junction, is closed because melting asphalt has turned it into a “soupy mess,” said park spokesman Dan Hottle.

Firehole Lake Drive provides access to two of the park’s many geysers and a spring–the Great Fountain Geyser, White Dome Geyser and Firehole Lake.

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U.S. Scientists Worried About Massive Volcanic Eruptions

File:Yellowstone_Natl_Park_poster_1938Uh-oh, yet another one of those seemingly unlikely Apocalypse 2012 scenarios is gaining credibility now that the much heralded year is upon us. From USA Today:

Scientists have known for decades that hidden under those impressive vistas at sites such as Death Valley and Yellowstone National Park are magma pools that under the right conditions can trigger explosive eruptions.

Now, new research is changing scientists’ understanding of the timing of those eruptions, and prompting them to call for greater monitoring of sites to help save lives when the next big volcano explodes.

Two recent papers highlight the shift. One looked at a Death Valley volcano thought to be 10,000 years old and found it last erupted just 800 years ago, and is still an eruption danger. The other found that large caldera volcanoes, such as the one under Crater Lake in Oregon, can recharge in a matter of decades, rather than the thousands of years previously thought.

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Yellowstone Hit By Swarm Of Earthquakes

Historical poster of Yellowstone from 1938By Howard Pankratz for the Denver Post:

Yellowstone National Park has been rattled by more than 250 earthquakes in the past two days following a period of 11 months of quiet seismic activity in the park.

The quakes have been gaining strength, with a 3.1 tremor recorded at 11:03 a.m. today. A 2.9 quake was recorded at 12:38 p.m.

Prof. Robert B. Smith, a geophysicist at the University of Utah and one of the leading experts on earthquake and volcanic activity at Yellowstone, said that the activity is a “notable swarm.”

“The swarm is located about 10 miles northwest of Old Faithful, Wyo., and nine miles southeast of West Yellowstone, Montana,” said Smith.

Jamie Farrell, a doctoral student in geophysics who works with Smith at the University of Utah, said that as of 3 p.m. today, 270 quakes have been recorded in the past two days.

Farrell said the quakes are occurring in an area about 5 miles from where the largest swarm of quakes was ever recorded in October 1985.

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