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Explanation Of How Underground Magma Affects Yellowstone National Park

posted 18 Apr 2013, 14:09 by Mpelembe   [ updated 18 Apr 2013, 14:10 ]

 USA, (Next Media) -  Scientists have discovered a large, continuous pocket of magma underneath the caldera in Yellowstone National Park. The system is at least 50 percent larger than originally thought, spanning about 60 kilometers long, 30 km wide and 5-12 km deep in a single connected chamber.

Yellowstone is located over a plume of superheated rock rising from the earth’s mantle, which likely punched through the earth’s crust when North America drifted over the hotspot. This caused a series of volcanic eruptions in the area, leaving behind calderas, including the one located in Yellowstone.

The underground chamber of magma in Yellowstone is a large round area that faces the northeast corner of the park, while the rest of it points toward the southwest.

Underground magma feeds into smaller volcanic eruptions, and also contributes to the park’s hydrothermal springs and geysers. Activity underground also causes calderas to rise, similar to a inflating bubble, lifting the surface of the ground. This is either due to magma rising and pushing upwards, or heating gases and hydrothermal fluids. Intense rising could lead to a volcanic eruption. An eruption inYellowstone National Park could cover a large area of the earth in ash and cause a famine.

Live Science, Our Amazing Planet, USGS