New Active Thermal Area Discovered Under Massive Volcano

Under Yellowstone Park there sits a massive volcano that according to some scientists is overdue to explode. If it did, it would cause massive damage to the US. According to a recent report, scientists have discovered yet another thermally active area underneath it:

Yellowstone National Park has a new thermal area that scientists think has been growing for the past 20 years.

The new area is deep in Yellowstone’s backcountry between West Tern Lake and the previously mapped Tern Lake thermal area, the U.S. Geological Survey announced earlier this month.

“This is exactly the sort of behavior we expect from Yellowstone’s dynamic hydrothermal activity,” R. Greg Vaughan, a research scientist with USGS, wrote in a blog post, “and it highlights that changes are always taking place, sometimes in remote and generally inaccessible areas of the park.”

A thermal area is the visible result on the Earth’s surface of magma activity underground. They can include geysers, like Yellowstone’s Old Faithful; hot springs; and fumaroles, which are vents that allow volcanic gases to escape. They are surrounded by hydrothermal mineral deposits, geothermal gas emissions, heated ground and lack of vegetation, the USGS says.

Yellowstone has about 10,000 thermal areas concentrated into about 120 distinct areas.

The new thermal area, about half a mile from the nearest trail, and about 11 miles from the nearest trailhead, was first noticed in an infrared satellite image acquired in April 2017. The area showed up as a bright spot between the Tern Lake thermal area and the western edge of West Tern Lake.

High-resolution aerial images later confirmed a large area of dead trees and bright soil, USGS said, the type of scene expected over a thermal area.

Historical images showed the area began forming in the late 1990s or early 2000s. Those images also showed that the Tern Lake Thermal Area had grown on its northern side.

Yellowstone has about 10,000 thermal areas concentrated into about 120 distinct areas.

The new thermal area, about half a mile from the nearest trail, and about 11 miles from the nearest trailhead, was first noticed in an infrared satellite image acquired in April 2017. The area showed up as a bright spot between the Tern Lake thermal area and the western edge of West Tern Lake.

High-resolution aerial images later confirmed a large area of dead trees and bright soil, USGS said, the type of scene expected over a thermal area.

Historical images showed the area began forming in the late 1990s or early 2000s. Those images also showed that the Tern Lake Thermal Area had grown on its northern side.

Any geological changes at Yellowstone tend to make headlines because the park sits atop an underground supervolcano that is 44 miles across and last erupted more than 630,000 years ago. However, scientists with the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory say there is nothing to worry about.

“We’ve heard many statements that Yellowstone is overdue — that it has a major eruption every 600,000 years on average, and since the last eruption was 631,000 years ago… well… you can see where this is going,” Michael Poland, scientist-in-charge of the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory, recently wrote in a blog post. “Is this true? In a word, no. In two words, no way. In three words, not even close. Yellowstone doesn’t work that way.” (source, source)

This clearly does not mean that “an explosion is going to happen soon.” However, it is good to be aware of these things, since one of the greatest threats to the US is not from without, but from within, especially with natural disasters or that which can be passed off as a natural disaster to the public, the latter of which would be an excellent way to divide the resources of the US, which if done at a time of national emergency such as a major war, could mean defeat for the US as she may be forced to withdraw from a conflict in order to care for her domestic needs. Such an attack against her would likely be more effective than any “invasion” by land or attack with the weapons of war could ever be.

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