Well, I finally made it to Yellowstone National Park (also known simply as ‘the park’) yesterday.  I got my annual pass, so I’m looking forward to making into the park most weekends.  Yesterday I made it just to Mammoth, which is just inside the northwest entrance of the park.  There was a lot of snow on the ground and more coming down so I didn’t go too far into the park.  See below for photos!

Roosevelt Arch

Mammoth

Yellowstone Engineer’s Office

Mammoth was an old army fort, because there was no one else to manage Yellowstone, which is also the nation’s first national park – founded in 1872.  The National Park service was founded in 1918, and still to this day uses the old Fort Yellowstone as the park’s headquarters.  Last week I was lucky enough to get a behind the scenes tour of some of the park administration offices.  I got to meet the research permitting administrators (as you can imagine, a lot of researchers want to study the unique areas in the park) and the wolf management team.  It would be such a neat place to work!

Lower Terrace at Mammoth Hot Springs

So one of the most interesting features in Mammoth is the geothermal area known as Mammoth Hot Springs.  This is an area of extensive thermal activity.  The water coming out from the springs is around 80 degrees Celsius (170 degrees F for you non-science types), boiling and full of minerals which are deposited to create the magnificent structures seen at Mammoth.  Mammoth Hot Springs is the largest known carbonate-depositing spring in the world (at least, according to wikipedia).

Palette Springs

Jupiter Terrace

Steamy hot springs in the snow

Canary Spring

Main Terrace in the snow

Oh yeah, if you didn’t know… Yellowstone is a giant caldera.  A supervolcano. it is 35 by 45 miles wide.  That is one of the reasons Yellowstone is one of the most interesting places for studying both biology and geology.

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