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USGS Universities Study Crust Beneath Yellowstone National Park

Photo from Pixabay

The Tech Times reports a new study underway to deliver a realistic view of the crust beneath the Yellowstone National Park. The study will utilize a helicopter electromagnetic and magnetic (HEM) survey.

The mysterious hot geysers in Yellowstone National Park are the subject of intense study. Although these are well-mapped at the surfaces, the structure of the subsurface flow systems remains an enigma.  The research started on November 7.

Coming together for the study are scientists and researchers from the U.S. Geological Survey, Aarhus University in Denmark and University of Wyoming. Their objective is to demarcate the subsurface zones of the Park in terms of cold fresh water, hot saline water, clay, steam and unaltered rock to explain the multifarious hydrothermal systems.

Developed in Denmark, the electromagnetic system is an advanced tool that can map out groundwater supplies and distinguish between water and rocks in depths of around 1,500 feet below the surface.

The study will have the HEM survey – led by SkyTEM – scan the subsurface hydrothermal systems of Yellowstone Park like an X-ray machine to analyze the geophysical features of geysers and steam vents. The HEM survey will also look into recurring hydrothermal explosions that create huge craters of more than 1,000 feet of depth.

During the course of the survey, a low-flying helicopter at 200 feet above the surface will follow a planned flight path and track the northern part of Yellowstone Lake. It will also study areas such as Mammoth-Norris corridor and Upper Geyser Basins.

According to researchers,

The readings obtained from the study will be analyzed alongside the available data on geological, geophysical and geochemical data to plug a knowledge gap on the deeper magmatic systems of the lake.

Overall, the researchers are hopeful that the new study will provide rewarding data. As far as Yellowstone Park is concerned, the studies will provide a better understanding of hydrothermal phenomena, which will help the Park’s administrators in planning for the future development of Yellowstone.

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