Researchers have found evidence of a hot magma mantle plume underneath Yellowstone National Park’s supervolcano hotspot. Some scientists argue the plume is providing the heat for Yellowstone and its hot springs. The plume reaches from the Earth’s core-mantle boundary to the base of Yellowstone’s crust.

yellowstone news, yellowstone mantle plume, yellowstone mantle plume stretches from mexico to yellowstone hotspot
Depth cross section through the Earth, form the surface to the core-mantle boundary. The location of the section is shown by the purple line on the map. Warm colors indicate slower seismic velocities, which are areas of higher temperature. A plume of hot material originates at the core-mantle boundary and extends upward to the Yellowstone hotspot (marked by the volcano symbol at the surface). Figure is from the manuscript “Lower-mantle plume beneath the Yellowstone hotspot revealed by core waves,” by Peter Nelson and Stephen Grand and published in Nature Geoscience.

Underneath Yellowstone National Park lies a massive supervolcano and researchers believe they have gotten their clearest picture yet of its hotspot.

Yellowstone’s hotspot is situated within our planet’s mantle, and scientists believe it is part of a surge of atypically hot rock known as a mantle plume. They are thought to begin some 1,850 miles below Earth’s surface at the boundary separating the mantle from the core. And the vast mantle plume is stretching from the Yellowstone Supervolcano to Mexico!

The scientists used an imaging technique known as seismic tomography and discovered a plume reaching from the Earth’s core-mantle boundary to the base of Yellowstone’s crust.

Yellowstone’s underground volcano is 44 miles across and last erupted more than 630,000 years ago. Scientists say if it were to explode again, it could be a major disaster due to its ability to eject large amounts of ash.

Supervolcanic eruption effects and prevention

A supervolcano explosion is capable of “plunging the world into a catastrophe” and pushing humanity “to the brink of extinction,” NASA researchers wrote in a 2015 study. The information we have on the rare eruptions today are estimates based on the geologic record and the massive deposits left behind by them.

The ash spewed by such an explosion could create a global “volcanic winter” by blanketing parts of continents with soot.

To help prevent such a catastrophic event, the researchers suggested drilling into the volcano to extract heat and pump water through it. The water would circulate and reach more than 600 degrees Fahrenheit before coming back out, which could slowly remove heat from the volcano and prevent it from erupting. The hydrothermal circulation at Yellowstone may cool the underlying magma and may lead to decreased long-term volcanic hazards.

The scientists say more research would need to be done to figure out how to protect citizens against a potential supervolcano eruption. Thankfully, there has been no evidence suggesting that an eruption from the underground volcano is imminent.

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Nature, NASA

2 COMMENTS

  1. No Evidence…you mean like INCREASED activity in both seismic and ground instability…? Or magma moving closer and CLOSER to the surface…? Or people that live nearby, for their ENTIRE LIVES, leaving because the ground has SWELLED up and reshaped their land..? Or THOUSANDS of tiny earthquake swarms, and the swarms INCREASING like no other time in recorded history..? Or like a TOTAL 100% denial OF ANY ACTIVITY or anything to worry about here, PLEASE MOVE ALONG type activity…?
    Or a changing of the public’s ability to monitor seismic activity with the older REAL TIME tools, with new tech tools that show us, after THEY review and EDIT as needed tools we have today..???
    Let us do some CRITICAL THINKING HERE for just one tiny moment…
    1) Do these government agencies have a VESTED interest in lying to the public about the activity here..?
    2) Has any government agency EVER lied to the public before…?
    3) What would happen if they were to come out and tell the public a LIFE ALTERING Yellowstone type of eruption was IMMINENT…?
    4) Based on the historic data, is an eruption likely, or even OVERDUE…?
    5) Do you really believe that these agencies would tell us if an eruption WERE imminent…?
    6) What would happen if they did..? People all quit their jobs, people in 6 surrounding states would all be trying to flee for safety, home prices in ALL surrounding states would PLUMMET, the fallout from this would be CATASTROPHIC…Think about it…
    So…
    When these people come out and say…EVERYTHING IS FINE, LOOK AWAY, NOTHING TOO SEE HERE…Is when I start probing into the matter with a OBJECTIVE mindset, but with a vested INTEREST, and TWO OPEN EYES….Read what I said…Think about it…I mean REALLY THINK about it…Would they tell us if it were about to blow…? Do they even KNOW THEMSELVES…?
    b.t.w. I live in Wyoming, not some 1000 of miles away, safely talking about something that would never effect me one way or another, nope, I LIVE HERE….So yeah….Too me…It really DOES matter

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