Yellowstone Hotspot talk July 18
July 17, 2016
There will be a lecture by Dr. Robert B. Smith from the University of Utah, on Monday, July 18th at 6PM in the Lovatt Room of the Pinedale Library. The talk will be "The Yellowstone Hotspot: Past, Present and Future."
Yellowstone National Park is a "geologic park" and an active volcano originating from a plume of magma at a depth nearly to the earth’s core that has fueled volcanism producing three giant supervolcano eruptions as young as 640,000 years ago and creating a giant caldera. Dr. Smith will use new seismic images to show how Yellowstone is underlain by a partially molten magma reservoir only 2-3 miles deep that provides the heat driving its world renown geysers, hot springs, etc. Moreover Yellowstone is shown to be the most seismically active area of the western U.S. interior experiencing up to thousands of earthquakes a year including the deadly magnitude 7.3 1959 Hebgen Lake earthquake that took the lives of 28 people. In addition precise GPS measurements of ground motion reveals unprecedented decadal episodes of uplift and subsidence with rates of several inches per year. Dr. Smith will also show the first seismic images of the Old Faithful geyser system and how its superheated water and steam originates in a reservoir far from the orifice of the geyser. Contrary to the commonly reported hazard, Yellowstone’s risk is dominated by the possibility of large magnitude 7+ earthquakes, not volcanic eruptions.