Yellowstone National Park is actually a giant caldera, which is the large cauldron-like feature formed by a volcanic eruption. Driving through the park is much different from what people may expect. The park is unique and amazing, with wildlife, geysers and more to thrill visitors, but it does not have the towering peaks that other Rocky Mountain parks, Like Glacier or the Tetons offer up. The park is actually on top of a massive volcano!
- Yellowstone’s underground volcanic plumbing is bigger and better connected than scientists thought, “The magma reservoir is at least 50 percent larger than previously imaged.”
- Knowing the volume of molten magma beneath Yellowstone is important for estimating the size of future eruptions.
- The last caldera eruption was 640,000 years ago. Smaller eruptions occurred in between and after the big blasts, most recently about 70,000 years.
- The magma chamber seen in the new study fed these smaller eruptions and is the source of the park’s amazing hydrothermal springs and geysers.
- Previously, researchers had thought the magma beneath Yellowstone was in separate blobs, not a continuous pocket.