Yellowstone is on Fire
ST. MARY, MT – July 12, 2018
As the press service of Yellowstone reported, the Park has had its first fire this year. Smoke from the Hayden Fire may be visible from the Grand Loop Road between Canyon Village and Mud Volcano. The fire lookout on Mount Washburn spotted the 0.1-acre wildland fire Tuesday morning, July 10. The fire occurred as a result of a lightning strike.
It is reported that the Hayden Fire does not pose a threat to park visitors. Public and firefighter safety is the first priority for park managers. All roads leading into and through the park are open.
This is the first fire in the park this season. Last year, eight fires burned less than 1 acre in total.
Some experts believe that the cause of the fire is not lighting but the high temperature of the ground. They pointed out that fire spreads over the terrain on which grass and bushes germinate. They also refer to studies conducted by researchers at Washington State University and the University of Idaho that have found that the amount of magma inside the Yellowstone supervolcano has increased significantly compared to 2016.
With funding from the National Science Foundation, the researchers “spiked” several hot springs in Yellowstone National Park with deuterium, a stable hydrogen isotope. The researchers used the length of time needed for deuterium concentrations to return to background levels and the temperature of the hot springs to calculate the amount of water and heat flowing out of the springs. Using deuterium for estimating heat flow is safe for the environment and has no visual impact to distract from the park visitors’ experience.
The team found that previous studies underestimated the amount of water coursing through the springs and the amount of heat leaving the springs. The data also allowed the team to estimate the amount of magma entering the supervolcano from the mantle.
The results of the study, published in the scientific journal Geosphere, argue that compared to 2016, the temperature in the hot springs has increased by 2 times. This situation can only indicate one thing: the amount of magma inside the volcano is growing rapidly.
They also refer to research conducted at the University of Utah, which is responsible for the operation of seismic stations in Yellowstone National Park. According to them the soil within the Caldera has risen considerably. Since 2004 the process has accelerated significantly and now the magnitude of the rise already reaches almost 2 meters.
The temperature of the water in the lakes is constantly growing too and it is now much higher than it should be. All this may be a consequence of the rise to the surface of the molten magma.