Super Volcano is Bigger - KULR8.com | Montana's News Leader | Billings, MT

Super Volcano is Bigger

Posted: Updated:
YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK -

The world’s authority on Yellowstone’s Super Volcano says it’s more than twice as big as scientists once thought. Does that mean it’s more likely to blow up soon? Penny Preston found Dr. Robert Smith at his home near Grand Teton, and found the answer.

Millions of people visit Yellowstone each year to see its geysers, fumeroles, hot springs, and mud pots. It’s the largest concentration of thermal features in the world. The park sits on top of the world’s largest active volcano. The Super Volcano. Its most recent eruption was more than 600,000 years ago. All that remains is the top, or caldera.

When you come into the Park they’ll give you a map and it has an overlay of the caldera. It’s huge.

The scientist who knows more about the Super Volcano than anyone, Dr. Robert Smith of the University of Utah, said, “Anytime you come to Yellowstone you have to drive uphill. And the reason is this giant plume of magma, is very hot, therefore it’s bullient, low density and it just lifts the surface up.”

Dr. Smith has been studying Yellowstone’s earthquakes and it’s Super Volcanos for almost sixty years.

He pointed out, “And these giant eruptions, supervolcanos if you wish, probably last many, many months, maybe even years.”

Not only that, they’re huge, thousands of times larger than Mount St. Helens. Smith and his students use siesmographs to map the magma pool underneath Yellowstone’s volcano, and satellites to determine how much the land swells or bulges. They found that the magma is, “2.5 times larger than we had originally imaged.”

The magma movement is signaled by earthquakes. Smith mentioned the 4.8 magnitude Norris area earthquake that damaged Lake Hotel last spring.

He explained, “It’s the biggest earthquake in 30 years.”

So, how likely is it that the big one will blow soon?

“If we were to have another big eruption, it would affect a large area, on the order of several states. But, as I said, that probability is very, very, very, very small. In my calculations it’s point zero, zero, zero, one percent.”

Smith said the magma pool is not getting bigger. His team added a lot more seismographs over the years, and are getting a clearer picture of the magma.

 

  • WyomingMore>>

  • Miracle moment firefighters revive dog after pulling him from burning home

    Miracle moment firefighters revive dog after pulling him from burning home

    Friday, July 21 2017 1:55 AM EDT2017-07-21 05:55:28 GMT

    A good deed from last year is paying dividends, and a dog's life is saved. Girl Scouts donated pet oxygen masks to the Bakersfield Fire Department in California last year. 

    A good deed from last year is paying dividends, and a dog's life is saved. Girl Scouts donated pet oxygen masks to the Bakersfield Fire Department in California last year. 

  • Rain helps slow growth of June Fire in Shoshone National Forest

    Rain helps slow growth of June Fire in Shoshone National Forest

    Friday, July 21 2017 1:31 AM EDT2017-07-21 05:31:04 GMT

    Rain helped slow the growth of a wild fire near Yellowstone Thursday. The June fire grew from five to 1900 acres Wednesday. A Shoshone National Forest spokeswoman says investigators are still trying to determine the cause of the fire that started about fifteen miles outside Yellowstone’s East Entrance Tuesday evening. Smoke was visible Wednesday in Cody, nearly forty miles away the next day.

    Rain helped slow the growth of a wild fire near Yellowstone Thursday. The June fire grew from five to 1900 acres Wednesday. A Shoshone National Forest spokeswoman says investigators are still trying to determine the cause of the fire that started about fifteen miles outside Yellowstone’s East Entrance Tuesday evening. Smoke was visible Wednesday in Cody, nearly forty miles away the next day.

  • How the drought could affect your everyday meals

    How the drought could affect your everyday meals

    Thursday, July 20 2017 6:42 PM EDT2017-07-20 22:42:50 GMT

    As the Treasure State faces a summer drought, Montanans may start to feel it in the air, as well as in their pockets.

    As the Treasure State faces a summer drought, Montanans may start to feel it in the air, as well as in their pockets.