What lies behind the “breath” of Yellowstone Park

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US, WASHINGTON (ORDO NEWS) — Scientists were able to explain why the vast region in the national park has been rising and falling for years again.

Yellowstone National Park, located right on the volcano, is known for its geysers and thermal springs. They form entire valleys with hot lakes and mineral streams. One of these valleys is called the Norris Basin – it is the hottest and most dynamic thermal zone in the park.

Over the past decades, this area seemed to breathe, then rising, then descending a few centimeters.

Between 1996 and 2004, an area of ​​more than 46 km 2 rose by 11.9 centimeters, and then fell by 7.1 cm over the next eight years. Then, from the end of 2013 to the beginning of 2014, the region suddenly rose again by 15 centimeters.

An earthquake of magnitude 4.9 occurred in the area of ​​the Norris Basin in March, which apparently stopped the sudden rise. After this, the fluctuations continued, and at the moment the region is 12.7 cm higher than in 2000.

Scientists have used radar and GPS data from satellites in recent years to track the deformation of the pool in order to simulate what was happening beneath its surface. Researchers concluded that the changes began when magma beneath the pool rose about 14 kilometers from the surface of the earth. This is because the Norris Basin is located on the line of faults and holes known as the Norris-Mammoth Corridor.

“Two weak zones intersecting each other is a place where magma could find an easier way to penetrate,” study co-author Daniel Zurisin.

Magmatic invasion caused a rise between 1996 and 2004, and when the magma cooled down, the liquids dissolved in it could bubble. This process lowered the internal pressure of the magma body, causing it to deflate like a damaged balloon, which probably caused the earth to re-lower from 2005 to 2013.

As it cools, magma crystallizes and releases gases: their rise can explain what happened in the basin from the end of 2013 to the moment of the earthquake, which caused microcracks in the rock and allowed the gases to go outside. However, researchers clarify that this is only one of the models of what happened.

Scientists clarify that their research does not report that the supervolcano that created the Yellowstone Caldera and last erupted 640 thousand years ago will soon wake up. But this explains why the highest active geyser in the world, Steamboat Park, has erupted at a record pace since March 2018.


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The article is written and prepared by our foreign editors from different countries around the world – material edited and published by Ordo News staff in our US newsroom press.

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