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Last updated on April 20, 2014 at 14:04 EDT

Massive Ancient Volcano Discovered In Utah

December 13, 2013

For 30 years, BYU geologists have searched for the volcano that produced thousands of cubic kilometers of pyroclastic flow on the Utah-Nevada border. Piecing together the geologic evidence from five different mountain ranges across hundreds of miles, they report in Geosphere the discovery of a massive 30-million-year-old supervolcano in Utah. The ancient caldera, which would have been several miles deep, is no longer visible as it has eroded and filled with pyroclastic flow many years ago. The original Wah Wah Springs pyroclastic deposit associated with this caldera covered an area of ~12,000 square miles and had a volume of 5,900 cubic kilometers or ~1,400 cubic miles (6,000 times the size of the Mount St. Helens eruption that emitted just one cubic kilometer of material). The researchers report that this is one of the largest documented supervolcanoes worldwide.

Credits: Producer Julie Walker, Photographers Brian Wilcox and Tyler Meiners, Editors Daniel Kelli and Sarah Butler, Animation by Ben Unguren

[ Read the Article: US Supervolcanoes: Yellowstone-Check, Utah-Check, Wait… Utah? ]