Geothermal energy (heat energy from the Earth's interior), is used to generate electricity in a variety of places throughout the world.
Scientists agree that drilling into a volcano would be of questionable usefulness. In addition to the enormous expense and technological difficulties in drilling through hot, mushy rock, drilling is unlikely to have much effect.
If another catastrophic caldera-forming Yellowstone eruption were to occur, it would probably alter global weather patterns and have enormous impacts on human activity (especially agricultural production) for many years.
How do the giant eruptions in the Yellowstone National Park region compare to other large historic eruptions?
The diagram below shows that the three large
The science of forecasting a volcanic eruption has significantly advanced over the past 25 years. Most scientists think that the buildup preceding a catastrophic eruption would be detectable for weeks and perhaps months to years.
Actually, the source of the hotspot is more or less stationary at depth within the Earth, and the North America plate moves southwest across it.
Yellowstone is a plateau high in the Rocky Mountains, and is snowbound for over six months per year. The mean annual temperature is 2.2°C (36°F), barely above the freezing point of water.
The magma chamber is believed to be about 40 by 80 kilometers across, similar in size to the overlying Yellowstone caldera. The top of the chamber is about 8 km deep and the bottom is around 16 km deep.
Since the most recent giant (caldera-forming) eruption 640,000 years ago, approximately 80 relatively nonexplosive eruptions have occurred.
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