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Yellowstone geyser eruptions influenced more by internal processes

Date:
May 7, 2014
Source:
Wiley
Summary:
The intervals between geyser eruptions depend on a delicate balance of underground factors, such as heat and water supply, and interactions with surrounding geysers. Some geysers are highly predictable, with intervals between eruptions varying only slightly. The predictability of these geysers offer earth scientists a unique opportunity to investigate what may influence their eruptive activity, and to apply that information to rare and unpredictable types of eruptions, such as those from volcanoes.

The intervals between geyser eruptions depend on a delicate balance of underground factors, such as heat and water supply, and interactions with surrounding geysers. Some geysers are highly predictable, with intervals between eruptions (IBEs) varying only slightly.

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The predictability of these geysers offer earth scientists a unique opportunity to investigate what may influence their eruptive activity, and to apply that information to rare and unpredictable types of eruptions, such as those from volcanoes.

Dr. Shaul Hurwitz took advantage of a decade of eruption -- spanning from 2001 to 2011 -- for two of Yellowstone's most predictable geysers, the cone geyser Old Faithful and the pool geyser, Daisy.

Dr. Hurwitz's team focused their statistical analysis on possible correlations between the geysers' IBEs and external forces such as weather, earth tides and earthquakes. The authors found no link between weather and Old Faithful's IBEs, but they did find that Daisy's IBEs correlated with cold temperatures and high winds. In addition, Daisy's IBEs were significantly shortened following the 7.9 magnitude earthquake that hit Alaska in 2002.

The authors note that atmospheric processes exert a relatively small but statistically significant influence on pool geysers; IBEs by modulating heat transfer rates from the pool to the atmosphere. Overall, internal processes and interactions with surrounding geysers dominate IBEs; variability, especially in cone geysers.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Wiley. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Shaul Hurwitz, Robert A. Sohn, Karen Luttrell, Michael Manga. Triggering and modulation of geyser eruptions in Yellowstone National Park by earthquakes, earth tides, and weather. Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth, 2014; 119 (3): 1718 DOI: 10.1002/2013JB010803

Cite This Page:

Wiley. "Yellowstone geyser eruptions influenced more by internal processes." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 May 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140507114805.htm>.
Wiley. (2014, May 7). Yellowstone geyser eruptions influenced more by internal processes. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 31, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140507114805.htm
Wiley. "Yellowstone geyser eruptions influenced more by internal processes." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140507114805.htm (accessed January 31, 2015).

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