Hydrothermal Features

While Yellowstone was named after the light calcium deposits found along the Yellowstone River that runs through the park, the geothermal activity found in Yellowstone truly makes it famous. The park has one of the largest active volcanoes in the world and that geothermal activity accounts for the tremendous number of hydrothermal features such as geysers, hot springs, fumaroles, travertine terraces, and mudpots. Although I could probably say this for nearly every feature of the park, Yellowstone’s unique geology and hydrothermal features are things you surely have to experience in person to get a true feel for what they look and smell like.

Flowing water and travertine in Mammoth.

It is hard to know where the steam ends,

 and the clouds begin at Mammoth Hot Springs.

 Soda Butte: An extinct geyser.

 Hot Spring at Norris Geyser Basin.

 Fumaroles are steam vents that lack enough water in their plumbing systems (foreground) and hot springs are hot boiling water (background). 

 Mini-geyser at Norris Geyser Basin. Geysers are characterized by having constricted plumbing which causes pressure to build and eventual eruptions. 

 The most famous geyser of them all, Old Faithful.

 It is utterly amazing to walk right through a geyser basin,

 such as pictured at Norris.

 Thermophiles are heat loving organisms and are believed to be some of the first organisms that we ever had on planet earth. They formed when earth was much warmer than it is now.

 Mudpots are thick, viscous appearing boiling water that lack enough water to flush out sediments. Very neat to watch bubbling at the surface.

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