Scientists discover geothermal activity outside Yellowstone zone

December 17, 2011 – Wyoming - Yellowstone National Park – NASA’s Landsat satellites have been tracking Yellowstone’s underground geothermal activity, a deep heat that is stored 4,000 miles into the earth’s core. But there are areas where these energy levels are becoming erratic. Old Faithful could be in trouble. The Landsat Program is jointly managed by NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey, beginning its services of remote sensing in 1972. It became part of the Yellowstone National Park’s new monitoring plan in 2005. In addition to remote sensing, Landsat also uses airborne reconnaissance in order to “observe geothermal changes across all of Yellowstone in a systematic and scientific manner.” (NASA) Up until recently, the heat coming from Yellowstone’s underground magma chamber has always been the fuel for over 10,000 of the volcano’s features: Old faithful, hot springs, geysers, mud spots, terraces and mud pots. But NASA is reporting that the Landsat imagery has picked up some unexpected developments outside the park’s borders, also picked up by energy companies beyond the park’s borders. “If that geothermal development outside of the park begins, we need to know whether that’s going to cause Old Faithful to suddenly stop spewing,” says Rick Lawrence of Montana State University. The Landsat satellite allows the scientists to recognize big changes occurring in the geothermal area, like Yellowstone. However, nobody knows what is happening or where due to the satellite’s large pixel size in its imagery. But clues are being found regarding the interconnection of the underground geothermal events. –Digital Journal

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