Enormous magma reservoir found under Yellowstone
There's enough magma bubbling in the massive "supervolcano" under Yellowstone National Park to fill the Grand Canyon more than 11 times, scientists reported in a study this week.
"For the first time, we have imaged the continuous volcanic plumbing system under Yellowstone," said study lead author Hsin-Hua Huang of the University of Utah.Yellowstone national park: scientists discover huge magma chamber | Science | The Guardian
The reservoir of hot, partly molten rock is located about 12 to 28 miles beneath the Yellowstone supervolcano. This newly discovered, deep reservoir is in addition to a separate shallower, long-known magma chamber that's about 10 miles underground.
The huge bowl-shaped collapsed volcano — known as a caldera -— in the middle of the park last erupted 640,000 years ago. It's one of several large and still active calderas in the U.S.
If the supervolcano erupted today, the results would be "cataclysmic," said study co-author Robert B. Smith, a University of Utah geologist. Fortunately, the chance is only 1 in 700,000 that we'll see an eruption in any given year, he added.
Yellowstone, which straddles the borders of Wyoming, Idaho and Montana, and boasts a remarkable array of geothermal features including geysers, mudpots, steam vents and hot springs, sits atop a super volcano that has had three calamitous eruptions.Magma expanse under Yellowstone supervolcano more vast - CNN.com
Scientists already knew of a large magma chamber under Yellowstone that fed the eruptions 2m, 1.2m and 640,000 years ago. The new study, published in the journal Science, revealed a second, deeper reservoir 4.5 times larger.
Scientists find magma under Yellowstone that could fill Grand Canyon 11 TIMES | Daily Mail Online
World's greatest explosionsBut when it does blow, it probably will change the world.Compared to Yellowstone's past, Mount St. Helens was a picnic, when it covered Washington state with an ash bed about the size of Lake Michigan in 1980. Mount Pinatubo, which exploded in the Philippines in 1991, doesn't begin to scratch the surface of Yellowstone's roar.
Nor did Krakatoa in 1883, which killed thousands, and the final explosion of which reportedly ruptured the eardrums of people 40 miles away.To understand the consequences of Yellowstone's previous eruptions, open the history books to 1815, when Mount Tambora blew many cubic miles of debris skyward and killed about 10,000 inhabitants of Indonesia in an instant, according to a report in Smithsonian Magazine.Its dust may have blocked sunlight around the world, chilling the air and dropping the Earth's climate into a frigid phase that garnered the year 1816 the "year without a summer," some climatologists believe. It may have led to frosty crop failures in Europe and North America
In the heart of Yellowstone National Park, a supervolcano releases around 45,000 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide each day.But the magma chamber lying directly beneath its surface is not considered large enough to produce such levels, so researchers have been searching for an alternative source for years.Now, by tracking seismic waves, a team of geophysicists has discovered an enormous secondary chamber deeper underground that's so large its partly-molten rock could fill the Grand Canyon 11 times over.