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Apr 24, 2015 10:50 AM EDT

Yellowstone Discovered to Have a Larger, Deeper Magma Sore Beneath Previously Undiscovered


Scientists have discovered a new massive magma chamber beneath Yellowstone National Park nearly five times larger than the one known to exist closer to the surface.

According to CBS News, there has always been magma stores bellow the Old Faithful geyser, but the new discovery is a deeper reservoir not previously noticed. At 46,000 square kilometers, it is 4.5 times bigger than the one above it.

The researchers published a study on the matter in the journal Science.

"For the first time, we have imaged the continuous volcanic plumbing system under Yellowstone," study lead author Hsin-Hua Huang, a postdoctoral researcher in geology and geophysics at the University of Utah (UoU), said in a press release. "That includes the upper crustal magma chamber we have seen previously plus a lower crustal magma reservoir that has never been imaged before and that connects the upper chamber to the Yellowstone hotspot plume below."

The researchers stressed there is little to no reason to worry about their discovery, which will help them better analyze the park's geology.

"The new study is the missing link between the shallow magma system that we imaged last year and the mantle plume deep in the Earth," study co-author Robert B. Smith, a research and emeritus professor of geology and geophysics at the UoU, told CBS News. "By putting in this new body we just discovered, it accounts pretty well for the total of the CO2 that comes out of the system.

"The actual hazard is the same, but now we have a much better understanding of the complete crustal magma system."

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