Yellowstone Supervolcano bigger than previously thought
University of Utah geophysicists made the first large-scale picture of the electrical conductivity of the gigantic underground plume of hot and partly molten rock that feeds the Yellowstone supervolcano. The image suggests the plume is even bigger than it appears in earlier images made with earthquake waves. It's like comparing ultrasound and MRI in the human body; they are different imaging technologies, says geophysics Professor Michael Zhdanov, principal author of the new study and an expert on measuring magnetic and electrical fields on Earth's surface to find oil, gas, minerals and geologic structures underground. It's a totally new and different way of imaging and looking at the volcanic roots of Yellowstone, says study co-author Robert B. Smith, professor emeritus and research professor of geophysics and a coordinating scientist of the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory.