Teleseismic studies indicate existence of deep magma chamber below Yellowstone National Park

Earthquake Information Bulletin (USGS)


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The secrets of Yellowstone National Park's spectacular geysers and other hot water and steam phenomena are being explored by the U.S Geological Survey with the aid of distant earthquakes (teleseisms). For some time geologists have known that the remarkable array of steam and hot water displays, for which the park is internationally famous, is associated with intense volcanic activity that occurred in the reigon during the last 2 million years. The most recent volcanic eruption took place about 600,000 years ago creating a large caldera, or crater, 75 kilometers long and 50 kilometers wide. This caldera occupies most of the central part of the present-day park. geologists knew from studies of the surface geology that the volcanic activity which creates the present caldera was caused the present caldera was caused by a large body of magma, a mixture composed of molten rock, hot liquids, and gases, that had forced its way from the deep interior of the Earth into the upper mantle and crust below the Yellowstone area. The dimensions and depth below the surface of this magma body were largely unknown, however, because there was no way to "see" deep below the surface. A tool was needed that would enable earth scientists to look into the curst and upper mantle of the Earth. Such a tool became availabe with the installation by the Geological Survey of a network of seismograph stations in the park. 

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Teleseismic studies indicate existence of deep magma chamber below Yellowstone National Park
Series title Earthquake Information Bulletin (USGS)
Volume 6
Issue 2
Year Published 1974
Language English
Publisher U.S Geological Survey
Description 5 p.
First page 3
Last page 7
Country United States
Other Geospatial Yellowstone Park
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N