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Hydrothermal explosions are violent and dramatic events resulting in the rapid ejection of boiling water, steam, mud, and rock fragments from source craters that range from a few meters up to more than 2 km in diameter; associated breccia can be emplaced as much as 3 to 4 km from the largest craters. Hydrothermal explosions occur where shallow interconnected reservoirs of steam- and liquid-saturated fluids with temperatures at or near the boiling curve underlie thermal fields. Sudden reduction in confining pressure causes fluids to flash to steam, resulting in significant expansion, rock fragmentation, and debris ejection.

In Yellowstone, hydrothermal explosions...

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