Yellowstone National Park in the United States is famous for its unique geothermal sites and natural beauty. It is located in Wyoming, Montana and Idaho and attracts many tourists from all over the world. However, behind all this beauty is a huge magma reservoir that could pose a danger to the surrounding areas.
A team of geologists and seismologists from the University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Institute of Earth Sciences, Academia Sinica, Taipei and the University of New Mexico recently surveyed the Yellowstone magma reservoir and found some differences from previous measurements. Their results were published in the journal Earth and Planetary Science Letters.
The researchers used seismic wave data to gain a deeper understanding of the conditions beneath Yellowstone National Park. Their goal was to measure the size and content of the magma reservoir and to make predictions about its activity and possible eruptions.
Previous studies have shown that over the past 16.5 million years, the hot spot beneath the park has led to a series of volcanic eruptions and caldera formation. The last major eruption in the area occurred about 640,000 years ago. These findings have raised concerns among scientists and prompted a more detailed study of the magma reservoir.
The upper part of the Yellowstone magma reservoir is about 90 km long and 40 km wide. Underneath it is the lower chamber, which scientists believe is 4.5 times larger in size. Preliminary studies of both chambers have shown that the deeper reservoir consists mostly of solid material mixed with 2% melt. At the same time, the upper chamber contains much more melt, from 16 to 20%.
However, a new study allowed scientists to find that the percentage of melt in the upper chamber is much higher. Analysis of seismic wave data showed that the melt is about 28%. This percentage is important because it can help in understanding the possibility of a volcanic eruption. In this case, the new team of scientists confirms previous estimates indicating little risk of an imminent eruption anywhere within the park.
It is important to note that the Yellowstone magma reservoir is one of the most active volcanic systems on Earth. Its potential danger is of interest to scientists and specialists in geology and seismology. They continue to research and monitor the condition of the reservoir to prevent possible disasters.
“The Yellowstone magma reservoir is a unique site to study. Its activity and potential hazards have attracted the attention of many scientists. New research data will help us better understand the processes within the reservoir and predict its future activity,” notes geology professor John Smith.