Friday, March 16, 2007

Is supervolcano ready to explode?

There's a reason why the volcano over at Yellowstone is considered super. Apart from the fact that it spans parts of Wyoming, Montana and Idaho, scientists recently discovered yet another super thing about it. Apparently, there is significant activity going on beneath its placid-looking surface -- and one that is increasing lately. Add to that little bit of news is the discovery that the nearby Treton Range is getting shorter.So does this mean that the Yellowstone supervolcano is moving over the landscape, thereby affecting the expanse of the nearby range? Probably so. But that's only the tip of the iceberg -- er, volcano.It's been said that researchers have been poring 17 years of their work just tracking the horizontal and vertical motion of the Yellowstone caldera. This is the huge volcanic crater that was created, thanks to the super-eruption of the supervolcano some super 60, 000 years ago.According to lead study author Robert Smith of the University of Utah, "we think it's a combination of magma being intruded under the caldera and hot water released from the magma being pressurized because it's trapped." And while they still do not consider this as enough warning or evidence for impending doom, aka a supervolcanic eruption, "it would be prudent to keep monitoring the volcano."

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