According to a new study scientists believe the Yellowstone Park Supervolcano is almost 3 times larger than previously thought.
Above: The northeastern part of Yellowstone Caldera, with the Yellowstone River flowing through Hayden Valley and the caldera rim in the distance. Image © wikimedia
It is unclear when the Yellowstone supervolcano will erupt again.
Dr Jamie Farrell, from the University of Utah, said:
“We record earthquakes in and around Yellowstone, and we measure the seismic waves as they travel through the ground.
The waves travel slower through hot and partially molten material… with this, we can measure what’s beneath.
To our knowledge there has been nothing mapped of that size before.
Yes, it is a much larger system… but I don’t think it makes the Yellowstone hazard greater.
But what it does tell us is more about the area to the north east of the caldera.”
According to Prof Bob Smith:
“More data was needed, because there had only been three major eruptions so far. These happened 2.1 million years ago, 1.3 million years ago and 640,000 years ago.”
You can only use the time between eruptions (to work out the frequency), so in a sense you only have two numbers to get to that 700,000 year figure.
How many people would buy something on the stock market on two days of stock data.”
source American Geophysical Union