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Alluvial

An Unbelievably Massive Volcanic Engine Has Just Been Found Hiding Under Washington

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 Alluvial    447

http://www.iflscience.com/environment/unbelievably-massive-volcanic-engine-found-hiding-under-washington/

Something fiery lives beneath Wyoming’s Yellowstone National Park – a huge upwelling of superheated mantle material, in fact, which is melting the crust and generating a huge supply of magma. It’s an unstoppable torrid force that will outlive our own species.

This is well-established, but a dramatic new study reveals that it’s got a friend. A seismic signature of a previously undiscovered “hot zone” has been found beneath three of the most dangerous volcanoes in the world, just over in Washington – Mount Rainier, Adams, and St. Helens.

Found at a depth that connects shallow magma chambers with ascending melts from the depths of the crust, the team estimate that it influences the volcanism over the entire 1,100-kilometer-long (684 miles) arc known as the Cascades.

It’s so huge that it contains twice the magma volume as is currently thought to exist in all three aforementioned volcanoes. Specifically, it’s at least 12,800 cubic kilometers (3,070 cubic miles) in size, about the volume of 2.6 Lake Michigans.

As the infamous Mount St. Helens erupted most recently, volcanologists are far more worried about Mount Rainier. Seattle, a city of 3.7 million people, lives in the valley of this long-dormant fiery mountain.

Now, it turns out that there’s a massive reservoir of liquid fire hiding just to the side of it, and it’s only just been discovered. That’s both scientifically thrilling and genuinely frightening.

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