At Yellowstone National Park, the deep permeability and fluid circulation are probably controlled and maintained by repeated brittle fracture of rocks in response to local and regional stress. Focal depths of earthquakes beneath the Yellowstone caldera suggest that the transition from brittle fracture to quasi-plastic flow takes place at about 3 to 4 km. The maximum temperature likely to be attained by the hydrothermal system is 350 to 450 degree C, the convective thermal output is about 5. 5 multiplied by 10**9 watts, and the minimum average thermal flux is about 1800 mW/m**2 throughout 2,500 km**2. The average thermal gradient between the heat source and the convecting hydrothermal system must be at least 700 to 1000 degree C/km. Crystallization and partial cooling of about 0. 082 km**3 of basalt or 0. 10 km**3 of rhyolite annually could furnish the heat discharged in the hot-spring system. The Yellowstone magmatic-hydrothermal system as a whole appears to be cooling down, in spite of a relatively large rate of inflation of the Yellowstone caldera.
Additional Publication Details
YELLOWSTONE MAGMATIC-HYDROTHERMAL SYSTEM, U. S. A.
Geothermal Resources Council
Davis, CA, USA
1985 International Symposium on Geothermal Energy, International Volume.