Geologists discover a new hotspot in Yellowstone supervolcano

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Top Tier Gear USA

A new thermal area has popped up in Yellowstone National Park, in yet another sign of the ever-changing magma activity beneath the surface.

Satellite images have revealed an expanse of about eight acres – or the equivalent of four soccer fields – where the ground is warmer than its surroundings, causing the trees and vegetation in that patch to die off.

While scientists have only just confirmed its existence, the United State Geological Survey (USGS) estimates it’s been forming over the last 20 or so years.

In a new post for the USGS weekly Caldera Chronicles, scientists have revealed the existence of a new thermal area near Tern Lake.

These areas are home to one or more thermal features, such as hot springs or geysers, of which there are more than 10,000 scattered across the park.

Thermal features are grouped into about 120 distinct thermal areas, USGS explains.

Deep in the back country between the already established Tern Lake Therma Area and West Tern Lake, scientists have noticed a growing patch where trees seem unable to survive in the last few years.

A look through the imagery going back to the 1990s confirmed what they suspected – a growing bright patch in the middle of the forest, signaling warmth beneath the surface.

‘The most recent image of the Tern Lake region, from 2017, reveals a large area of dead trees and bright soil, rather like a thermal area,’ USGS says.

‘From all these satellite and aerial images, we conclude that a new thermal area has emerged in the past 20 years!’ the team added.

Its appearance is no cause for concern. According to the experts, the activity goes in line with what’s expected for the Yellowstone area.

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Contributed by Sean Walton of The Daily Sheeple.

Sean Walton is a researcher and journalist for The Daily Sheeple. Send tips to sean.walton@thedailysheeple.com.

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