Huge Magma Chamber Discovered Beneath Yellowstone National Park | Science News

Welcome To Strange Science News Seismologists at the University of Utah, have
discovered and made images of a reservoir of hot partly molten rock, 12 to 28 miles
beneath the Yellowstone supervolcano. The hot rock in the newly discovered, deeper
magma reservoir would fill the Grand Canyon more than 11 times. “For the first time, we have imaged the continuous
volcanic plumbing system under Yellowstone,” says first author Hsin-Hua Huang, also a postdoctoral
researcher in geology and geophysics. That includes the upper crustal magma chamber
we have seen previously imaged, plus a lower crustal magma reservoir that has never been
imaged before, and that connects the upper chamber to the Yellowstone hotspot plume below. The researchers point out that the previously
known upper magma chamber was the immediate source of three cataclysmic eruptions of the
Yellowstone caldera 2 million, 1.2 million and 640,000 years ago. The new study used seismic imaging, which
is somewhat like a medical CT scan but uses earthquake waves instead of X-rays to distinguish
rock of various densities. Quake waves go faster through cold rock, and
slower through hot and molten rock. For the new study, Huang developed a technique
to combine two kinds of seismic information. Data from local quakes and data from more
distant quakes were collected. Using this new information, a picture was
able to be made of the previously unknown lower magma chamber. However, with an analysis of this new information,
the researchers have concluded that the risks of an eruption have not changed, and that
the chances in any particular year are still 1 in 700,000. For more information about this story, please
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