Massive magma cache found beneath California supervolcano
MONO COUNTY, CALIFORNIA — New research has found a huge cache of magma hidden underneath one of the largest supervolcanoes in the world.
Forbes reports that California's Long Valley supervolcano erupted some 760,000 years ago, spewing out hot ash, lava, and toxic gas for 6 days that resulted in the formation of a massive caldera.
Since 1978, a gradual uplift has been observed in the caldera center, likely from magma flowing into a chamber below the supervolcano.
Using seismic tomography, researchers from the USGS California Volcano Observatory were able to show a more detailed view of the subsurface, which they published in the journal Geology.
They discovered that the reservoir beneath the supervolcano contained 240 cubic miles of semi-molten magma, 27% of which was in a liquid state.
An eruption would require at least 50% of the magma to be liquid, so there's no immediate threat.
The bad news is, when Long Valley does eventually erupt, it's likely going to be a massive catastrophe similar to the one from hundreds of thousands of years ago.
Since scientists aren't be sure how magma is distributed within the reservoir, normal eruptions are also a possibility, so they're keeping a very close eye on the caldera.