A new study reveals evidence of a massive plume of magma beneath Yellowstone National Park – and it could run all the way to Mexico. Scientists have debated the presence of a plume for years, and if one does exist, it would explain the heat that bubbles to the surface in the park.
Researchers at the University of Texas found evidence for a plume under the park using seismic data obtained from listening stations across North America run by EarthScope’s USArray. Using this data, they found a long, thin 72 x 55-kilometer channel where seismic waves are slower. This indicates that the section of mantle is 600 to 800 degrees warmer than areas around it.
This plume could be the cause of Yellowstone’s surface activity, although the scientists say that more research is needed. There is also more work to be done to understand the forces holding the plume in place in its current location.