The Yellowstone supervolcano has been found to be active even if it probably is not close to erupting any time soon. That is good to know since if the enormous volcano located under beneath the park ever exploded, it could send out ash that covered most of the United States. Of course, the Yellowstone Caldera as it is officially known, has not erupted in around 70,000 years and only appears to erupt about every 700,000 years. So it would look as if it probably will not happen again anytime in the near future. However scientists are continuously studying the volcano in hopes of better understanding its behavior just in case something was to happen.
Because even though the volcano has not erupted, it remains active. It creates Yellowstone’s famous geysers, boiling rivers, and mud pits. Heat rises from below the ground and that creates constant change throughout the entire park. The warmth from the volcano is what is behind the hydro-thermal system, explained geologist Henry Heasler. It becomes hot and rises to the surface. That is where the magma chamber is located and that is at a reasonably shallow depth.
That superficial depth has created changes that have caused numerous people to worry unnecessarily. The actual ground in Yellowstone rises and falls in places. Over the past few months a large area of the park has went up almost 1.5 inches and moved about half an inch to the south. A Yellowstone volcano laboratory that is operated by the United States Geological Survey has stated that this is totally normal. However such occurrences do offer researchers a scientific prospect to better comprehend the geologic processes that are happening both at Yellowstone and other places. Numerous geologists from all over the world are using this chance to be able to monitor the ground buckle closely.
Among the scientists studying the volcano at Yellowstone is Ken Sims, who is a professor at the University of Wyoming. He investigated the park back in November of 2013 with an entire team of scholars. They were using tools that detected both radon and various acid levels in the ground. Sims hoped that one day they would be able to find out what was the cause of the park’s steam eruptions. If they were able to discover the cause, then possibly the scientists could also figure out when particular regions of the park might become explosive and when it would be best to keep tourists away.
The fact of the matter is that things change very fast in Yellowstone and so that offers geologists exceptional prospects. Jacob Lowenstern, who is a scientist at Yellowstone, stated that geology usually is difficult to observe. It is like trying to watch a rock decay but in Yellowstone there are so many things that move faster than normal. That is what is so amazing about everything around the park.
By learning about the Yellowstone volcano, it also gives a chance to inspect the very powers which could have produced life on Earth itself. In fact, an enzyme that was found in a spring in Yellowstone in the mid 1960’s later led to the development of new technologies which examined DNA and helped to save lives.
So even though Yellowstone has not flared in many thousands of years, researchers remain vigilant. Lowenstern stated that when scientists work in an environment that has not gone off in 70,000 years, it still has to be watched closely because the Earth should be paid attention to what it is trying to tell human beings.
If the enormous supervolcano that is beneath Yellowstone National Park ever did go off, it could spew out ash that might cover the majority of the United States. Of course, the Yellowstone Caldera as it is legitimately known, has not erupted in around 70,000 years and only appears to erupt about every 700,000 years. Thank goodness for that.
By Kimberly Ruble