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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

There is a sleeping giant in Yellowstone

There is a sleeping giant beneath the beauty of Yellowstone National Park, which is located in the state of Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho, USA. Where the geyser Old Smith gushed, as if nudging the sky. Blue and green color saturation in geothermal pool which has a bright fringe, and offers amazing views. Also the towering mountains shrouded in dense vegetation, providing shelter for various wild animals.
Hot springs are surface evidence of the huge magma chamber that sits beneath Yellowstone. (Picture from: http://www.bbc.co.uk/)
Behind the beauty of Yellowstone, threats a lurk. A giant volcano (Supervolcano) are powerful enough to destroy most of the United States and changed the world, resides there. Recently, a scientists team discovered that the supervolcano magma chamber was much larger than previous estimates, which is 2.5 times larger. Scientists find underground caves that stretches more than 90 km that containing about 200 to 600 cubic kilometer of molten rock. The findings were presented at the American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting in San Francisco some time ago.

"We have been working on for a while there in no time, and for that we always think that the magma chamber was larger than expected ... but this finding remains shocking," said Prof Bob Smith of the University of Utah, as quoted by the BBC, on Wednesday, December 11, 2013. The team uses a network of seismometers located around the national park to map the magma chamber.
Yellowstone ash plume It is unclear when the Yellowstone supervolcano will erupt again. (Picture from: http://www.bbc.co.uk/)
Dr. Jamie Farrell of the University of Utah explains, that his team record earthquake data in and around Yellowstone. Then measure the seismic waves that propagate in the ground. "The wave moves more slowly through the material to heat and partially liquid. With it we can measure what is hidden in there."

The team found that the magma chamber was unusually large. Reach a depth of 2 to 15 kilometers (1 to 9 miles). The hole was estimated to have a length of approximately 90 kilometers (55 miles) and a width of 30 km (20 miles). The size of the magma chamber was much larger - to the north and east - rather than revealed in previous studies. "No one had ever mapped the size as it was before," added Dr. Farrell.

The findings are used by scientists to assess the potential threat of the giant mountain. If Yellowstone erupts now, the consequences will be catastrophic. In comparison, when the last major eruption at 640,000 years ago, it was sent to the entire North American ash. Have an impact on the world's climate. The power of the eruption is estimated to 25 thousand times more powerful than the eruption of Mount St. Helena in 1980.

Before the devastating eruption happens, most likely a strong earthquake shook the surrounding area, and a large explosion would wipe Yellowstone, make it disappear from the map. Then, heat clouds and burning rocks burn anything in its path, with temperatures reaching hundreds of degrees Celsius. Ash will cover the western part of the U.S. to a radius of 1,000 km or more than 1,600 miles, get into aircraft engines, crippling air transport, threatening the world's food supply.

Casualties can not be prevented. Approximately 87,000 people will be killed instantly, not to mention the following result of the after-effects. Not only that, two-thirds of the U.S. could become uninhabitable as toxic air that blows from the caldera that makes millions of people into refugees.

However, a larger magma chamber does not mean the threat is also greater. "It is true, this is a system that is much bigger... but I do not think it makes the Yellowstone danger greater," said Professor Bob Smith. "But we came to know more about the area in the northeast caldera."

Scientists also do not know when Yellowstone will erupt again. Some experts believe the mountain Yellowstone erupts periodically once in 700,000 years. Professor Smith said, still a lot of data that is required to make predictions, because, there are only 3 major eruption so far: at 2.1 million years ago, 1.3 million years ago, and 640,000 years ago.

Supervolcano characteristics did not like most of the conical mountain. In contrast, supervolcano has what is called a caldera, a large area that is sinking into the ground due to the devastating eruption which makes the soil explode and fall back, and make it a long rest. And finally woke up again at a later time.. *** [EKA | FROM VARIOUS SOURCES | BBC | INHABITAT]
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