Yellowstone caldara rise has slowed


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In a paper published today in Geophysical Research Letters of the American Geophysical Union, scientists note that the rise of giant volcanic caldara under Yellowstone National Park has slowed significantly since 2006 and since 2008 has actually subsided somewhat. Key quote from the paper:

Here we propose that as the caldera source continues inflating, the accumulated strain energy in the deformed crust could promote earthquakes with mechanisms such as hydrofracturing,, migration of magmatic fluids, and brittle fracturing of rocks. These events can subsequently depressurize the magmatic systems or release the accumulated strain energy, slowing the uplift or even influencing a change in motion to subsidence. In January 2010 the Yellowstone caldera experienced another large earthquake swarm at its northwestern boundary close to the location of the 1985 swarm. . . . In the following five months the caldera experienced the first overall subsidence since the inception of its uplift in 2004. This scenario is similar to that in 1985 where a reverse of caldera uplift to subsidence was temporally correlated with the largest observed Yellowstone earthquake swarm.

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