The last time a major eruption of Yellowstone occurred 640 thousand years ago. The supervolcano is currently under close scrutiny by scientists who are trying to recognize the slightest signs of a possible future catastrophe.
According to some experts, the eruption is unlikely to happen again, since the volcano is quite “old”, while others are sure that it will definitely happen again, the question is only in time.
Volcanologist Robert Smith of the University of Utah made an amazing breakthrough in understanding the Yellowstone system when he noticed a change in water levels in a local lake. The study focused on looking for signs of deformation in its caldera, which could indicate an impending eruption, Express reports.
“He recognized some of these signs, especially in the changes in the level of Yellowstone Lake, and saw that his basin was tilting, which caused the water level to rise at one end of the lake and fall at the other,” geologist Robert Christiansen said.
According to the data received, over the past 50 years, the caldera has risen by about two-thirds of a meter. This was later found to be normal for Yellowstone, as scientists observed periods of upswing followed by declines.
The experts explained that this is a rather impressive “domed uplift”, which indicates magmatic activity.
“Either the magma invaded the crust or it heated the hydrothermal system, causing it to expand and lift the crust,” Christiansen said.
Later it was found that the periods of rise last for about ten years, then a period of stability begins – about a year, after which the water level falls.
It is currently at a low point. The results were based on an analysis of volcanic deposits scattered tens of thousands of miles across the region.