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Study of Yellowstone Volcano May Not be as Eruptible as Previously Thought

Photo courtesy of Michael Smith / Staff / Getty Images

JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) — New research indicates the magma chamber underlying Yellowstone National Park may not be as volatile as previously believed.

University of Utah geophysicist Bob Smith and a student used seismic data from 26 years of earthquakes to map the composition of the Yellowstone caldera.

Their study was published in Geophysical Research Letters and revised the best estimate for the percentage of the magma chamber that is molten as opposed to solid. Magma chambers that have higher percentages of solids are generally thought to be less eruptible.

Smith says the percentage of actual liquid magma in Yellowstone is around 10 percent.

The Jackson Hole News & Guide reports that researchers previously estimated that the magma chamber was 32 percent liquid.

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