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Yellowstone into the Future

30 August 2012 Geological Society of America, The (GSA)

Boulder, Colorado, USA – In the September issue of GSA TODAY Guillaume Girard and John Stix of McGill University in Montreal join the debate regarding future scenarios of intracaldera volcanism at Yellowstone National Park, USA.

Using data from quartz petrography, geochemistry, and geobarometry, Girard and Stix suggest that magma ascent during the most recent eruptions of intracaldera rhyolites occurred rapidly from depths of 8–10 km to the surface along major regional faults, without intervening storage. They consequently predict that future volcanism, which could include large-volume lava flows and phreatomagmatic rhyolitic eruptions, has a higher probability of resuming along three fault-controlled NNW-trending lineaments on the western caldera rim and across the central and northeastern caldera. The first two were the focus of recent (70,000 to 174,000 years ago) volcanism, while the last is the most active area of current caldera unrest.

This article is online at GSA Today articles are open access online; for a print copy, please contact Kea Giles at the e-mail address above. Please discuss articles of interest with the authors before publishing stories on their work, and please make reference to GSA TODAY in articles published.

Future volcanism at Yellowstone caldera: Insights from geochemistry of young volcanic units and monitoring of volcanic unrest
Guillaume Girard* and John Stix, Dept. of Earth and Planetary Sciences, McGill University, 3450 University St., Montreal, QZ H3A 2A7, Canada. Pages 4–10; doi: 10.1130/GSATG143A.1. *Now at Dept. of Geosciences, University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1379, USA.

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