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Large-scale hydrothermal fluid discharges in the Norris–Mammoth corridor, Yellowstone National Park, USA

Journal of Geochemical Exploration
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/s0375-6742(00)00025-x
  • Yellowstone National Park (Ynp)
  • Hydrothermal Fluids
  • Meteoric Water
  • Chemical Composition
  • Isotopic Composition
  • Chemistry
  • Earth Science
  • Geography


Abstract Norris–Mammoth corridor is a complex subsidence structure that extends ∼40 km northward from the 0.6 Ma Yellowstone caldera, and contains many hydrothermal features with high fluid discharges totaling ∼1000 l/s. About 150–250 l/s of hydrothermal water, which attains boiling temperature at surface and 360°C at depth, discharge from the Norris Geyser Basin, adjacent to the caldera. The highest thermal water and gas discharges in the corridor are from Mammoth Hot Springs, where 500–600 l/s thermal water with surface temperatures of up to 73°C and calculated subsurface temperatures of ∼100°C issue from ∼100 hot springs scattered over a score of step-like travertine terraces that range in age from ∼0.4 Ma to recent. All the thermal water is meteoric, likely recharged in the Gallatin Range at 2.5–3.0 km elevations. The isotopic and chemical compositions of thermal waters and solutes can be interpreted to indicate a common magmatic source for heat and volatile solutes located near Norris. However, the chemical and isotopic compositions of gases, especially the 3He/ 4He ratios, provide strong evidence for a separate magmatic source for the Mammoth system.

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