Thermal Activity

If you haven’t already submitted your guess for the “jelly bean” contest, you have one more day! The winner will be announced tomorrow evening.

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Gazing out over the hot springs

Yellowstone has a lot going on under the surface, which makes for some interesting scenes happening above ground for the visitor’s viewing pleasure. Geysers, hot springs, mudpots, and vents demonstrate how our Earth is a dynamic planet that is constantly changing. These geothermal features are fun to photograph and gaze upon, yet the science portion of Yellowstone really captured my attention.

So let me share a couple tidbits with you:

  • A large portion of the park is actually located in a caldera, or a collapsed volcano.
  • Magma that is relatively close to the Earth’s surface provides the heat needed to create the thermal wonders mentioned above
  • Since tectonic plates keep moving, Yellowstone is an evolving park that won’t look the same in a couple years as it does today
  • There are more than 10,000 geothermal features found in Yellowstone (I probably only saw about 40)

Mud pots are my favorite. They look like a witches’ cauldron bubbling with a thick oozy liquid. Watching Old Faithful erupt was enjoyable, but I also marveled at Steamboat Geyser, another popular site in the park.

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Thar she blows! (Old Faithful)

When the wind blew just right, the heat from the springs would provide a much-needed respite from the cold.

It also smelled like rotting eggs.

Yum, yum.

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Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble…
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