Study: Yellowstone volcano much larger than believed
This new image shows Yellowstone's volcanic plume reaching about 400 miles from east to west.
April 13th, 2011
09:35 AM ET

Study: Yellowstone volcano much larger than believed

A new kind of image suggests the giant volcanic plume lying under Yellowstone National Park is even bigger than previously thought.

University of Utah geophysicists used the electrical conductivity of the huge tongue of hot and partly molten rock to create an image. That image suggests the plume is even bigger than it appears in earlier images made with seismic waves.

"It's like comparing ultrasound and MRI in the human body; they are different imaging technologies," geophysicist Michael Zhdanov, principal author of the new study and an expert on underground structures, said in a news release from the university.

A 2009 seismic study showed the plume dips downward from Yellowstone at an angle of 60 degrees and extends 150 miles west-northwest to a point at least 410 miles under the Montana-Idaho border - as far as seismic imaging could "see."

In the new study, images show the electrically conductive part of the plume dipping more gently, at an angle of perhaps 40 degrees to the west, and extending perhaps 400 miles from east to west. The geoelectric image can "see" only 200 miles deep.

The University of Utah study will be published soon in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.

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Filed under: Earth • Environment • Idaho • Montana • Nature • Science • U.S. • Utah • Volcanoes • Wyoming
soundoff (67 Responses)
  1. fATTY mATTY

    I like cherry pie

    April 14, 2011 at 4:21 pm | Report abuse |
  2. fATTY mATTY

    wars, erathquakes,super volcanos all point to the begining of birth pangs. Folks, we are going to be birthed into a new dimension

    April 14, 2011 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
  3. roadmaster

    Yellowstone erupting would be pretty bad, but another geologic feature that IS overdue is the New Madrid fault, which could literally spit the USA into two halves with the Gulf of Mexico then reaching clear up to Canada.

    Lots of really bad things WILL happen in the future because Jesus and the Bible predicts them, and they've been more accurate than man ever has.

    April 15, 2011 at 7:51 am | Report abuse |
    • Tom

      I think we really need to be asking questions and quickly. I also believe tracking has a huge part on the part of contaminating water and causing earthquakes. The last week alone, there were 14 earthquakes with in the near or close proximity of Yellowstone according to

      September 9, 2011 at 5:58 pm | Report abuse |
  4. A plea to deaf ears

    Please, stop getting trolled by some commenters. You really should be able to spot them.

    April 15, 2011 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • pickled beats


      March 5, 2012 at 10:00 am | Report abuse |
  5. Frankenstein

    Is there any way to stop it? Maybe fill the volcano in with cement? Or just dig it up and dump water on it? I will be in Carlsbad Caverns when it blows.

    April 18, 2011 at 9:48 am | Report abuse |
  6. al

    It is going to happen,like many here said.It's inevitable like pay taxes.But if it's a question of time,and no one knows exactly an approximate date,maybe officials and those who really know and aware keep it a secret,like in one movie made not that far from the place of the future disaster?

    April 28, 2011 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
  7. pickled beats

    I'm from the future. yellowstone blew up in 2016, most of the eastern hemisphere looks like Fallout 5, wait you don't know what that is yet.

    March 5, 2012 at 10:18 am | Report abuse |
    • Quagmire

      Sweeeet..... 8D

      March 5, 2012 at 10:25 am | Report abuse |
    • pickled beats

      also, obama gets kicked out of presidency in 2014 and replkaced by Eric Holder

      March 5, 2012 at 10:30 am | Report abuse |
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