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Illustration explaining two theories of how a hotspot has formed underneath Yellowstone. See long description for a text alternative.
Two Hotspot Theories

In order for geysers to exist, there first must be a source of heat. Scientists theorize that molten rock, or magma, rises in convection cells like water boiling in a pot. The left side of the illustration on this page shows the traditional view of a hotspot as a plume of magma rising from earth's core. The right side shows another theory that the Yellowstone hotspot originates at a much shallower depth. Select Yellowstone's Hotspot to learn more.

Back to tour | Yellowstone's Hotspot | Anatomy of a Geyser | Anatomy of a Hot Spring
How Geysers Work