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Yellowstone Caldera Volcano Essay

2367 words - 10 pages

1.0 Abstract:

This report investigates the largest active volcano in the world, the Yellowstone volcano. Volcanic landforms in general are initially described. Then it focuses on how this volcano has formed a caldera, and on the characteristic cauldron-like structure and its composition of basaltic and rhyolitic magma. Each individual landform, such as the Yellowstone Caldera volcano, is formed by specific processes and present distinct interactions with their surrounding environment. This as well as the rarity of it as a landform will be discussed in this report.

2.0 Table of contents:

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1.0 Abstract: ...view middle of the document...

95). Some of the main landforms include mountains, cliffs, valleys and craters (Evans 2012, p. 95). However, it is not limited to these a landform can also be defined by a vast range of other earth systems (Evans 2012, p. 95). Some of these features present more than one identity for example: large volcanoes are at the same time considered to be mountains, and other volcanoes can sometimes be islands, on the other hand many mountains and islands aren’t classified as volcanoes (Thouret & Nemeth 2011, p.1). Volcanic processes are quite complicated and diverse this is why they can create numerous landforms and have such a significant effect on the environment around them (Thouret & Nemeth 2011, p.1). Prolonged activity or even a singular volcanic eruption could result in the alteration of surrounding landscape at a local or regional scale (Oppenheimer, Martí & Ernst 2009, p.157). Volcanoes can be formed by interactions that occur between many different earth systems and processes, and changes that occur over time at particular rates (Oppenheimer, Martí & Ernst 2009, p.157). They can be described with reference to their existing features and how they originated, as well as by the way they develop and by the current changes that they may be experiencing (Evans 2012, p. 97). This report will focus on those specific to the Yellowstone caldera volcano.

4.0 Structure and composition of Yellowstone volcano:

Yellowstone volcano is the largest active volcano in the world, thus it has been named a supervolcano and it contains a huge amount of constantly moving molten rock comparable in size to Mount Everest (Lü et al. 2013, p 283). This supervolcano has had three eruptions that have formed calderas over the last 2 million years (Lü et al. 2013, p 283). Firstly, what is a caldera? A caldera is a depression, in an area of volcanic activity, which has a larger diameter than that of the potentially explosive volcanic craters or vents (Acocella 2007, p126). Calderas and volcanic craters can sometimes be confused with one another, the difference is the sizes that they present, a caldera is a depression with diameters that are over 1 kilometre whereas a volcanic crater is a circular depression with diameters that are usually less than 1 kilometre (Acocella 2007, p126). The Yellowstone caldera forms a piston-like structure and is over 60 kilometres in diameter (Lü et al. 2013, p 284).

The Yellowstone caldera is located in the Yellowstone national park in the USA and takes up most of the national park (Lü et al. 2013, p 287). This national park is considered a hot spot, located on top of a high plateau and having a hot mantle plume as support (Lü et al. 2013, p 287). The Yellowstone caldera is composed of both a large rhyolitic system and basaltic system (Lü et al. 2013, p 285). The basaltic magmas are formed at depth from the mantle and the rhyolitic magmas are generated by the melting of the continental crust (Lü et al. 2013, p 285). This creates ponds of...

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