“I don’t think visitors appreciate that they’re standing directly on top of the largest, most dynamic magmatic system on the planet,” says geologist Daniel Dzurisin. Yellowstone is easily one of the biggest volcanoes in the world, and one of the few super volcanoes on continental crust. The extreme ways of this volcano, is what makes it unique. Because of its tectonic setting, there are many hazards involved, as well as potential for damage. The history of this volcano explains that, and other super volcanoes help explain what could potentially happen when Yellowstone finally does erupt. Tectonic Setting:
To begin, the tectonic setting of north western Wyoming explains a lot about Yellowstone. The crust underneath Yellowstone is restless. There are some major faults along the Teton, Madison and Gallatin Ranges that pass through Yellowstone; these all existed before the volcano was there. The North American plate is the biggest plate that Yellowstone is interacting with. There is a divergent boundary along where Yellowstone and the North American plate meet. The most apparent faults in Yellowstone are as follows; the Minor Plateau Faults younger section, Post – Lava Creek faults in North Western Yellowstone, Mallard Lake resurgent dome faults, Elephant Back fault zone, and Sour Creek dome faults. Main Hazard:
Equally important, Yellowstone has many main hazards. Yellowstone is a super volcano. The difference between a normal volcano and a super volcano is not very obvious until you look at the inside structure. A normal volcano typically has a single column of magma that comes from within the earth. It breaks through the top of the mountain and spews out the entire column. A super volcano is quite a bit different though. A super volcano begins with a column of magma, but instead of breaking through the surface it stays underground. The magma then starts heating the crust and slowly begins to mix with it. This makes the magma really thick. Since the magma is trapped under the earth’s surface, the volcanic gases are also on lock. The pressure of the gasses and magma under the surface of the earth is colossal and continues to build over thousands of years. When the earth’s crust cannot take the pressure anymore, it breaks. The volcano erupts and the blast is hundreds of times more powerful than that of a normal volcano. Yellowstone happens to be really big too. It is 2,805m tall and rises at a rate of about 7cm/year. Risks Associated with Main Hazard:
There are many risks associated with Yellowstone. To begin, fires are a pretty common thing in Yellowstone. The weather in Yellowstone is pretty interesting. There is lots of rain, and where there is rain there is lighting. The poor soil in Yellowstone results in the plants being pretty dry. When the rainstorms happen, the lighting usually hits something and causes fires.
Another example of a risk is earthquakes. Earthquakes are a pretty regular thing in Yellowstone. Not all of the earthquakes are devastating but many happen all the time. In February 2012, the University of Utah Seismograph Stations, recorded 34 earthquakes. The largest of those earthquakes was a 1.6 magnitude. The biggest recorded earthquake recorded in Yellowstone was a 7.5 magnitude in 1959.
Equally important, deadly gasses are extremely hazardous in Yellowstone. Most of the gasses in Yellowstone are released in geysers. Two thirds of the world’s geysers are in Yellowstone national park (Secret). Because of the extreme climates in Yellowstone, animals typically seek warmth by the volcano. The volcanic gasses that come from Yellowstone are heavy and stay low to the ground. This usually results in animals seeking warmth followed by basically inhaling poison, which causes them to die.
To continue, ash fall is extremely dangerous in the...