A fissure has opened up in Grand Teton National Park just 60 miles (100km) from the Yellowstone volcano, prompting officials to immediately close the area. Experts have detected expanding cracks in the rock buttress, which is being closely monitored by geologists for movement.

While it hasn’t blown its top for more than 600,000 years, scientists are working to better understand Yellowstone in the hopes of predicting the next eruption.

Peter Larson.

Researchers at Washington State University said pools of molten volcanic rock build in subsurface magma chambers and are key to the eruption process.

“It is the coal in the furnace that’s heating things up,” said study coauthor Professor Peter Larson.

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