Interactive: A Hotspot Trail
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Our innovative Science Bulletins are an online and exhibition program that offers the public a window into the excitement of scientific discovery. This interactive was published in June 2006 as part of the Yellowstone: Monitoring the Fire Below Earth Feature:
- It begins by explaining that as Earth's crust slides southwest over the mantle, previous volcanic eruptions of a stationary hotspot have left a trail of calderas that ends, at the moment, with Yellowstone.
- A interactive timeline allows students to see the hotspot trail in action over 16 million years.
- Students can also learn more about calderas and how overlapping calderas (or a volcanic center) is created by successive eruptions, like those in Yellowstone.
Supplement a study of geology with a classroom activity drawn from this Science Bulletin interactive.
- Working individually or in small groups, have students explore the A Hotspot Trail interactive.
- As a class discuss the trail of calderas and how it moved from the Nevada-Oregon border to the north-west corner of Wyoming. Based on the movement they saw, where would they expect the trail to lead in the next 16 million years?