Yellowstone's Liquid Hot Magma

Yellowstone National ParkYellowstone National Park is sitting in the middle of a giant volcano. But, unlike Mount St. Helens or the Hawaii Volcanoes, the Yellowstone volcano does not rise above the earth in a nice symmetric mountain like the others. This is because when the Yellowstone volcano erupts again, it will do so with such explosive force that there will be no oozing viscous lava to create a pretty mountain. Instead, massive amounts of rock and ash will be thrown high into the atmosphere and will cool the earth. The eruption would be the most significant event in the lives of every person on earth. Of course, television producers want their viewers to believe that Yellowstone is on the brink of exploding at any second. It makes for good ratings and entertaining television, even though the odds of being on the earth for a Yellowstone eruption are rare, rare, rare. BUT, the reason these Discovery Channel type documentaries succeed are because they actually have a grain of truth at their core. The ground under Yellowstone is alive. This is backed up by recent analysis of satellite measurements of the area surrounding the park. Scientists have concluded that Yellowstone's land mass is rising on the north end of the park because of the movement of magma 7 miles beneath the surface. No need to panic though, according to Daniel Dzurisin of the USGS quoted in the Scientific American, "there is a very low probability of the next eruption happening in our lifetimes or anytime soon." But, in a nod to future Yellowstone "shock"umentaries, Dzurisin concludes with a sense of the dramatic: "The flipside is: the system has been active for millions of years and it's going to erupt again sometime."