Yellowstone Volcano

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Yellowstone National Park is located in the Rocky Mountains in Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho. It is a popular park because it is home to over 10,000 features, several mountain ridges, headwater of 3 major western river system (?, 2015). Nevertheless, to say that is a beautiful place to visit, millions of visitors are unaware that they are standing in the largest, most explosive volcanoes ever to exist. It is important for people to be informed of the geologic aspects and the effects of the Yellowstone volcano.

Geologic aspects

Tectonic setting

The tectonic setting of the Yellowstone volcano sits atop of a continental hotspot. While North America plates moved west they slowly moved over the hotspot that is now below Yellowstone [IJ1](Volcano World, n.d).

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The Yellowstone volcano has not erupted recently it is considered to be active. Although Yellowstone volcano is active, it is unlikely to erupt in the next thousand or even 10,000 years (Yellowstone Volcano, n.d). Such activities as ground motion, earthquakes, and hydrothermal activities are proof that the volcano is active (Lowenstern, Christianse, Smith, Morgan, and Heasler, 2005). It is estimated that about 1,000 to 3,000 earthquakes occur under Yellowstone each year (?, 2015).


Most of Yellowstone volcano eruptions has produced giant volcanic eruptions (Lowenstern, Christianse, Smith, Morgan, and Heasler, 2005). When eruptions take place the common magma present is silicic. Much of the composition of Yellowstone volcano lava is composed of rhyolite and basalt (An Overview of Yellowstone, n.d). To be precise, about 30 eruptions of rhyolitic lava moved around/ flew while other flows contained rhyolite and basalt that were expelled outside the caldera (Lowenstern, Christianse, Smith, Morgan, and Heasler, 2005). Considering the Yellowstone volcano is active, there has been non explosive eruptions. Some eruptions that have occurred about 27 of them rhyolite lava flew in the caldera, 13 rhyolite lavas flew outside the caldera and 40 basalt vents outside the caldera [IJ2](USGS, n.d).

Type of volcano

The Yellowstone volcano is a volcanic caldera and supervolcano(). [IJ3]Since it’s a supervolcano it is capable of exploding more than 240 cubic miles of magma (Yellowstone Volcano, n.d).

How often it erupts

Since the first to the last eruption of the Yellowstone volcano, we can calculate that the eruptions were separated in time by several tens of thousands of years. To be precise, the recurrence interval is about 6000,000 to 800,000 years (USGS, n.d). Based in Yellowstone past eruptions, the probability of another caldera- forming eruption is only 0.00014% (Volcano, n.d.). Although scientist don’t know when will Yellowstone volcano will erupt again, scientist from Yellowstone Volcano Observatory (YVO) observe an array of monitor [IJ4]in the region.

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