Scientists Map Complete Supervolcano
University of Utah seismologists have mapped out a new 11,200-cubic-mile magma reservoir underlying the Greater Yellowstone area and now have a full image of the supervolcano from the Earth’s deep mantle to its surface.
The discovery, the subject of an article in the academic journal Science, is the culmination of decades of research and provides the most complete picture yet of Yellowstone’s volcanic plumbing system, University of Utah geophysicist Bob Smith said.
“I think it’s a capstone of what we have done,” Smith said Thursday. “It’s kind of the big discovery we’ve made on the whole Yellowstone system in the last decade.”
The newly mapped partially molten body — going by the name the “Lower Crustal Magma Reservoir” — is about 4.4 times larger than the shallow, long-known magma chamber. The blob-shaped reservoir is found between 12 and 28 miles deep and is situated between the shallow magma chamber and massive plume that rises from 440 miles down in the Earth’s mantle.