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Giant Cracks Form in Grand Teton National Park Near Yellowstone Volcano
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Giant Cracks Form in Grand Teton National Park Near Yellowstone Volcano

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Getty Images /PrtSc

WYOMING — July 20, 2018

Wyoming officials had to immediately close Grand Teton National Park after cracks opened up in the ground.

The park is just 60 miles (100km) from the Yellowstone volcano. It is not known how the fissure opened but the area, which sits over the Yellowstone supervolcano, has been urgently shut down due to 'elevated potential for rockfall'.

According to a spokesperson for the Grand Teton National Park, it is not known how long the closure will be in effect.

"The area was closed to protect human safety on July 10 after expanding cracks in a rock buttress were detected," officials said in a statement. "The Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point areas are currently also closed due to the elevated potential for rockfall."

The area is under the watchful attention of geologists.

"Geologists are monitoring the buttress for movement and have initiated a risk assessment for the area."

The area is not far from the potentially devastating Yellowstone Volcano. Other parts of the park are still open, among them the surrounding area around Jenny Lake.

Last month, it was revealed scientists have devised a new way to find out how quickly magma is building up under Yellowstone.

The technology allows experts to accurately estimate the amount of magma entering the supervolcano from deep under the Earth's crust. The process is called recharging.

According to Washington State University researchers, the pools of molten volcanic rock built into subsurface magma chambers arethe  key to the eruption process.

"It is the coal in the furnace that's heating things up," said study co-author Professor Peter Larson. "It's heating up the boiler. The boiler is what explodes."

An eruption occurs when the magma chambers burst, throwing as much as 240 cubic miles (1,000 cubic kilometers) of magma into the air.

In the study, Professor Larson and his colleagues focused on the plume of magma heating the rhyolite from below.

Rhyolite is an igneous, volcanic rock, of felsic composition. It may have any texture from glassy to aphanitic to porphyritic. The mineral assemblage is usually quartz, sanidine, and plagioclase. Biotite and hornblende are common accessory minerals. Rhyolite is also known as an explosive, silica-rich volcanic rock, which breaks through the Earth's crust during an eruption.

Researchers said the chemical, which the scientists spiked in Yellowstone National Park, is harmless to the environment and approved for use by park officials. This chemical is the stable radioactive isotope deuterium.

After it, the team was able to calculate the amount of water and heat flowing out of the springs using the temperature of the springs and the time taken for the deuterium to return to normal background radiation level

Researchers noted that previous studies underestimated the amount of water coursing through the springs and the amount of heat leaving the springs.

Yellowstone Volcano erupted more than 600,000 years ago. Now scientists are working to better understand Yellowstone in the hopes of predicting the next eruption.

Author: USA Really