Yellowstone is filling up with magma

The ground is rising in Yellowstone by a mass of molten rock the size of Los Angeles.

Researchers say that Yellowstone is rising by up to 7 centimeters a year of a mass of molten rock being forced from the Earth’s mantle into the magma chamber beneath the ancient volcano.

The Yellowstone caldera was formed during the huge volcano’s last massive eruption 642,000 years ago, which released enough ash to cover half of the US with tens of centimeters of ash. As the magma chamber was emptied out during the eruption, the volcano collapsed, creating a massive crater.

The area remains North America’s largest volcanic field, fuelled by a gigantic plume of hot, molten rock which begins at least 400 miles beneath the surface. Blobs of magma occasionally break off and bubble up, resupplying the Caldera’s magma chamber. The heat generated by this chamber powers Yellowstone’s famous geysers.

From mid-2004 to late 2006, researchers measured deformations at the surface of the caldera using GPS stations and radar measurements made by the European satellite Envisat.

Researchers say the magma chamber is filling with molten rock, massive in size, and has been injected from the Earth’s mantle into the magma, which is already in the chamber and which is crystallizing as it cools.

Yellowstone is filling up with magma