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Yellowstone National Park

Posted on Jul 29, 2014 by in NATURAL WONDERS, ROAD TRIPS, SPOTLIGHT | 0 comments

The oldest and most popular national park in the United States, Yellowstone National Park contains the greatest concentration of geothermal features in the world. Designated a UNESCO World
Heritage Site in 1978, the park encompasses 3,472sq miles (8,987sq km) of rugged mountains, spectacular deep valleys, and broad volcanic plateaus.
Several noteworthy geologic features are scattered across the surface of Yellowstone Park. The most striking among these are a black obsidian (volcanic-glass) mountain, eroded basaltic lava flows, fossil forests, and occasional odd structures carved out by the erosive action of wind and water. The most famous and popular of Yellowstone’s attractions, however, remain the 10,000 or so hot springs and geysers that bubble underground and burst onto the surface in the form of geysers, mud cauldrons, hot pools of myriad hues, steam vents. fumaroles, and hot rivers.
Yellowstone’s extraordinary geothermal activity can be attributed to the unusual thinness of the earth’s crust in the area. This, combined with the intrusions of magma at depths of 4 to 10 miles (6.5 to 16km) and a very steep subsurface temperature gradient serves to heat the precipitation water—that percolates through cracks and fissures on the surface—to very high temperatures, until it boils and expands. This superheated water is thrust out under pressure through the hard and strong rhyolite, silica-bearing rock at the surface.
Yellowstone National Park is headquartered at the Old Faithful and Mammoth Hot Springs, and several of the most famous geysers and hot springs are located between the two.

Included among these is the Giantess, which is situated close to the Old Faithful and erupts at intervals of every six to eight months. There is also the Fountain Paint Pot—located in the Lower Geyser Basin, it consists of fumaroles, pink plopping mud geysers, and a blue hot spring pool. The Minerva—located at Mammoth Hot Springs—is a multi-colored terrace with hot water cascades.
Yellowstone is also famous for its many lakes and rivers. The huge Yellowstone Lake, the largest mountain lake in North America, occupies a caldera formed by an eruption 600,000 years ago. Fishing and boating are among the most popular sports. The Yellowstone River traverses a magnificent, brilliantly colored gorge and
has two majestic waterfalls along its course. Forests cover most of the park. Though the lodgepole pine accounts for the majority of the trees found in the area, other species of conifers, cottonwoods, and aspens also abound. The warm months see a profusion of wildflower blossoms.
The wildlife prowling the jungles of Yellowstone is typical of the Rocky Mountains, and consists of elk, bighorn sheep, deer, moose, bison (buffalo), coyotes, and black and grizzly bears. Reintroduced into the park in 1995, 13 packs of wolves now make Yellowstone their home. Bird species in the park number hundreds; several of these species are waterfowl, including the rare trumpeter swan. The fish-filled lakes and streams of Yellowstone draw many anglers, with the trout being the most popular catch.
OLD FAITHFUL
Though not the highest, Old Faithful is the most famous geys in North America. Located at the head of the Upper Geyser Basin, this 200 to 300-year-old geyser was so named by the Washburn-Langford-Doane Expedition in 1870 because of its apparently “faithful” eruptions every 63 to 70 minutes. On closer observation, however, the interval has been recorded as varying between 33 and 120 minutes. The geyser’s eruptions are accompanied by billowing hot steam, and on clear and windless days, its fountain-like eruption column has been known to reach 170ft (52m). The average height of the eruptions, however, is approximately 1 30ft (40m), and the column stands for about 4 minutes.
CONNECTING YELLOWSTONE
Lieutenant William Clark, who sailed down the Yellowstone River in 1806, was the first person to explore the area. The first trading post on Yellowstone was established by a native American trader called Manuel Lisa, accompanied by a trapper called John Colter, at the mouth of the Bighorn River in 1807. Today, more than 500 miles (800km) of roads and 1,000 miles (1,600km) of trails spread throughout the entire park. Established in 1972, the 80-mile (130-km) scenic John D. Rockefeller Jr. Memorial Parkway today connects Yellowstone to the Grand Teton National Park in the south.
THE FACTS

Established by the US Congress on March 1, 1872, Yellowstone National Park is the oldest national park in the world.

The park holds more than 200 geysers; some erupting to heights greater than 100ft (30m).

 

 


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