Geologists to map Yellowstone National Park’s underground plumbing system

In a bid to gain an insight into the infrequent hydrothermal explosions at the Yellowstone National Park, a team of geologists from the United States and Denmark are going to map out the underground plumbing system at the park.

The researchers from the USGS, University of Wyoming, and Denmark’s Aarhus University have announced that they will conduct flights over the Yellowstone National Park using a helicopter with a massive, hoop-shaped electromagnetic system suspended from it.

The hoop-shaped electromagnetic system will act like an X-ray machine to help researchers determine where and how hot water is flowing beneath the park’s surface.

Lead researcher Carol Finn, of the USGS, said they planned the new study as nobody currently knows anything about hot water’s flow paths that erupts from several geysers at the park.

Jamie Farrell, an assistant professor at the University of Utah, said, “We would have a good idea that magma is moving up into the shallow depths. The bottom line is, we don’t know when or if it will erupt again, but we would have adequate warning.”

The park has witnessed infrequent and sometimes huge hydrothermal explosions in the past. Around 13,800 years ago, an explosion left a crater that measures more than a mile across at the bottom of Yellowstone Lake. It is said to be to be the biggest such crater in the world.

Similar studies conducted at other places in the nation previously helped reveal potential hazards from volcanoes.