Accelerated Uplift and Magmatic Intrusion of the Yellowstone Caldera, 2004 to 2006

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Science  09 Nov 2007:
Vol. 318, Issue 5852, pp. 952-956
DOI: 10.1126/science.1146842

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The Yellowstone caldera began a rapid episode of ground uplift in mid-2004, revealed by Global Positioning System and interferometric synthetic aperture radar measurements, at rates up to 7 centimeters per year, which is over three times faster than previously observed inflation rates. Source modeling of the deformation data suggests an expanding volcanic sill of ∼1200 square kilometers at a 10-kilometer depth beneath the caldera, coincident with the top of a seismically imaged crustal magma chamber. The modeled rate of source volume increase is 0.1 cubic kilometer per year, similar to the amount of magma intrusion required to supply the observed high heat flow of the caldera. This evidence suggests magma recharge as the main mechanism for the accelerated uplift, although pressurization of magmatic fluids cannot be ruled out.

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