European Space Agency Satellite Reveals Yellowstone's Deep Secret

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European Space Agency Satellite Reveals Yellowstone's Deep Secret

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Satellite images acquired by ESA’s ERS-2 revealed the recently discovered changes in Yellowstone’s caldera are the result of molten rock movement 15 kilometres below the Earth’s surface, according to a recent study published in Nature.

InSAR, a sophisticated version of 'spot the difference', involves mathematically combining different radar images, acquired from as near as possible to the same point in space at different times, to create digital elevation models and reveal otherwise undetectable changes occurring between image acquisitions.

"We know now how mobile and restless the Yellowstone caldera actually is. Ground-based measurements can be more efficiently deployed because of our work," Thatcher said. "The research could not have been done without satellite radar data."

About 640,000 years ago, a massive volcano erupted in Yellowstone, creating the caldera, which measures some 45 kilometres wide and 75 kilometres long, in the centre of Yellowstone National Park.

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They still say that the chance of eruption is low.

This image of ground deformation was created using data from several satellite passes from 1996 through 2000. The image shows 125 mm of uplift centred within the northern end of Yellowstone caldera (black dotted line), about 10 km south of Norris. Each full spectrum of colour (from red to purple) represents about 28 mm of uplift. The uplift is approximately 35 km x 40 km in size. (Credits: U.S. Geological Survey)Using Synthetic Aperture Radar Interferometry, InSAR for short, Charles Wicks, Wayne Thatcher and other U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) scientists mapped the changes in the northern rim of the caldera, or crater, and discovered it had risen about 13 centimetres from 1997 to 2003.

yellowstoneimage.jpg - 26.73kb
By YCON: posted on 18-3-2006








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