Saturday, May 31, 2014

Yellowstone National Park Geothermal Features

I have had the good fortune to visit Yellowstone National Park on more than one occasion.  I had a roommate who made an annual pilgrimage to the Park on the final weekend it was open, before the winter closure takes effect.  The crisp autumn air accentuates the steaming geothermal features.  Elk bugle and lock horns in their dominance displays.  It is not so crowded at the end of the season.

In addition to geysers, there are mud pots that bubble and roil like a pot of boiling water.  Every so often a big wad of mud is hurled into the air and I dubbed those "mud frogs."

By first light, every small fumarole stands tall and magnificent.

These stark tree trunks are the remains of trees killed as the hotspot evolves and moves.  Geothermal systems are not static, and when there is an earthquake some geothermal features disappear and new ones appear at the ground surface.  The sentinels stand with their roots in hot mineral water and the trunk act as a wick, drawing the minerals into the wood.  If you ever wondered about the origins of petrified wood, you're seeing it being created here.

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