Yellowstone volcano SHOCK: how the change in GRAVITY helps track the accumulation of magma | Science | News



As the scorching magma rushes to flood the underground chamber of a volcano as in Yellowstone, the volcano becomes heavier and increases its gravitational attraction. Similarly, the effects of gravity around a volcano are weekend when the magma chamber is emptied or drained of molten rock. Scientists from the US Geological Survey (USGS) who closely monitor the Yellowstone volcano believe that this could be an essential tool for monitoring volcanic activity. The average gravitational attraction or acceleration of gravity around the globe is 32 feet per second squared (9.8 m per second squared).

But the so-called gravitational constant is not a constant at all and will change depending on its elevation and the terrain in which it is located.

For example, a climber of Mount Everest who weighs 68 kg at sea level will only weigh 67.8 kg on the top of the mountain.

According to Michael Poland, chief scientist of the USGS, local geology has an impact on gravity due to the composition and density of the rock.

The scientist explained in this week's issue of Caldera Chronicles: "If there is a very dense deposit of copper below the surface, for example, the gravitational attraction will be stronger than if the subsurface was composed of, say, non-compacted soil.

"Measuring the gravitational force on the surface of the Earth can, therefore, tell you something about the composition of the subsoil."

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The differences in gravitational pull may be too small for people to notice, but Dr. Polonia said that the specialized equipment deployed around the Yellowstone volcano can detect small peaks and falls.

These machines, known as gravimeters, use a very sensitive spring to calculate the gravitational acceleration acting on a weight attached to the spring.

If gravity within a specific part of the park is increasing, the spring decreases as it creeps down.

If the gravity decreases, the spring, in turn, is shortened.

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Gravimeters, although simple, are an "excellent tool" for measuring future volcanic activity in the depths of Yellowstone's surface.

Dr. Polonia said: "Because the variations in shallow water levels and other seasonal factors are relatively small, it should be possible to" see "any change caused by the magma.

"In the future, the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory will perform annual measurements of gravity in the boiler area to badess magmatic activity, combining those results with information on deformation, seismicity, gas emissions and thermal changes."

The announcement comes after scientists from the USGS in collaboration with the Royal Meteorological Institute of the Netherlands conducted a series of serious measurements in 2017.

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The results of the study were published on March 28 of this year, in the Journal of Geophysical Research.

Geologists have discovered that the movement of groundwater levels and hydrothermal activity have not had any additional effect on the severity of Yellowstone.

In general, past seriousness studies in Yellowstone have not yielded worrisome results.

Dr. Polonia said that this could be the result of the Yellowstone magma being relatively deep below the earth, approximately 3.1 miles (five kilometers).

The deeper the magma, the less effect it will have on gravity.


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