Magma is the explosive lifeblood of volcanoes. The Yellowstone supervolcano, centered in northwestern Wyoming, has plenty stored beneath its geyser-laden surface. But magma is a mixture of both solid and liquid parts, and not all of it can erupt.
To find out just how much geologic goulash can potentially come out of the volcano if it erupts, scientists applied a relatively new technique to a 20-year-old catalog of seismic data. Their study, published Thursday in the journal Science, concludes that there is more molten rock in Yellowstone’s upper magma reservoir than previously thought: 16 percent to 20 percent of it is liquid, compared with older estimates of about 10 percent.