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Exploring the Hotspot

The Yellowstone Volcano is a hotspot—an area on the Earth’s surface that shows signs of long-lasting volcanic activity. Hotspots are not fully understood. One theory suggests that the Yellowstone hotspot is caused by the North American plate slowly drifting over a stationary heat source. In this theory, a plume of magma rises from the core-mantle boundary of the Earth to trigger a chain of volcanic eruptions at the surface.

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Another theory proposes that the continental plate is slowly pulling apart here, allowing the hot, plastic rock to melt in areas weakened by stretching and thinning.

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drawing of the OFVEC
Young Scientists
Yellowstone Express
Why Geysers Erupt
Hot Water Treasures
Hot Spring Ecology
Scientific Research

This work is supported by

National Science Foundation    Yellowstone Park Foundation

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