The Yellowstone supervolcano turned out to be many times more dangerous than scientists thought

Scientists used a new imaging technique and seismic data to study the Yellowstone supervolcano.

The purpose of the study is to estimate how much magmapresent in its caldera. The scientists also wanted to find out how it was distributed underground. They were specifically looking for a melt - magma in liquid form. This data is often used to predict volcanic eruptions.

As part of the study, the researchers modeledseismic data to map the melt beneath the Yellowstone caldera. They concluded that there is much more of it than previously thought. In addition, it is located at a shallow depth in the earth's crust. Yellowstone turned out to be much more dangerous than previously thought.

Thus, the partial proportion of the melt is from 16% to 20%. And according to previous models, only 10% or less is hidden under the Yellowstone caldera.

Grand Prismatic Spring Panorama. Original public domain image from Flickr, U.S. government

According to earlier estimates, to starteruption requires a melt volume of 35% to 50%. However, other operating variables make accurate prediction difficult. Even using the most advanced scanning methods, scientists may miss some areas of liquid magma, experts say.

The Yellowstone Volcanic Caldera is located innational park of the same name in the northwestern United States, which is famous for its geysers. It is also located immediately on the territory of three states: Wyoming, Montana and Idaho and covers an area of ​​8,983 km². This caldera is often referred to as the Yellowstone supervolcano.

Over the past 2.1 million years, Yellowstone has experienced three catastrophic eruptions. Although it is not known when the next one will occur, understanding the geology of the caldera is very important.

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Engineers have developed a two-gram microscope that can examine the brain of a mouse in real time.

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Researchers from the Institute of NeurobiologyThe behavior of the Max Planck Society developed a miniature microscope. It is installed on the head of a mouse and analyzes the activity of neurons in all layers of the brain.

Scheme and model of the microscope and observational data. Image: Alexandr Klioutchnikov et al., Nature Methods

To understand how complex behavior is formed,it is necessary to conduct observations in natural conditions, the scientists explain. The new device works remotely, does not interfere with the free movement of animals and can analyze brain activity in the process of interacting with the environment.

The device is a three-photonforehead microscope. It weighs only two grams and yet records the activity of neurons with a resolution of one cell in all layers of the cerebral cortex. Since the focusing is controlled remotely, the behavior of the animal during the measurements does not change. Unlike analogues, the device can operate in illuminated conditions, and the modular design of the microscope provides the possibility of functional visualization with high resolution of neuron bodies up to their processes, dendrites.

To test the operation of the device, the researchersconducted measurements in the fourth and sixth deep layers of the cerebral cortex of mice. During the experiment, the experimental animals freely explored the space. The scientists found that nerve cells in different layers modulated differently, depending on how bright or dark the environment was.

This is a huge step to analyze brain activity deep in the cerebral cortex while the animal exhibits natural visually guided behavior.

Jason Kerr, Head of Brain Organization and Behavior at the Max Planck Institute for Behavioral Neuroscience

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