24 January 2011

A Deep Surge of Magma Shakes Yellowstone, Lifts Ground 10 Inches

More: Brian Wang at NextBigFuture has more information and some reassurances
Yellowstone National Park sits atop a subterranean chamber of molten rock and gasses so vast that the region, known for its geysers and grizzlies, is arguably one of the largest active volcanoes in the world.

Granted, it's not your typical volcano, either in scale (it's huge), appearance (it's a vast depression, not a single mountain) or frequency of eruption (at least hundreds of thousands of years apart).

But it is active, and the evidence is everywhere. _Discovery

One of the world's great supervolcanoes sits and waits beneath Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming. It has erupted before and it will erupt again, someday. Recent quaking of the ground in Yellowstone, combined with ground surges as high as 10 inches, have caused some geologists to wonder if the clock may be ticking down to another big blow.
"Clearly some deep source of magma feeds Yellowstone, and since Yellowstone has erupted in the recent geological past, we know that there is magma at shallower depths too," said Dan Dzurisin, a Yellowstone expert with the USGS Cascades Volcano Observatory in Washington State.

"There has to be magma in the crust, or we wouldn't have all the hydrothermal activity that we have," Dzurisin added. "There is so much heat coming out of Yellowstone right now that if it wasn't being reheated by magma, the whole system would have gone stone cold since the time of the last eruption 70,000 years ago."

The large hydrothermal system just below Yellowstone's surface, which produces many of the park's top tourist attractions, may also play a role in ground swelling, Dzurisin said, though no one is sure to what extent.

..."Big quakes [can have] a relationship to uplift and deformations caused by the intrusion of magma," he said. "How those intrusions stress the adjacent faults, or how the faults might transmit stress to the magma system, is a really important new area of study."

Overall, USGS's Dzurisin added, "the story of Yellowstone deformation has gotten more complex as we've had better and better technologies to study it." _NatGeo
It is not easy to predict a volcanic eruption. Supervolcanoes may be even more difficult to predict -- no one knows. It will take time to acquire enough experience with the immense geological processes taking place beneath our feet. The video below provides a sobering look at the aftermath of a Yellowstone super-eruption.

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Blogger Bruce Hall said...

...more info.


Tuesday, 25 January, 2011  

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