The landscape at Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming is populated by areas with volcanic activity causing flowing water to boil and create steam.
Heat and volcanic gases from slowly cooling magma rise and warm the dense salty water that occupies fractured rocks above the Yellowstone magma chamber. That brine, in turn, transfers its heat to overlying fresh groundwater which is recharged by rainfall and snowmelt from the surface.
Yellowstone National Park is a nearly 3,500-sq.-mile wilderness recreation area atop a volcanic hot spot. Mostly in Wyoming, the park spreads into parts of Montana and Idaho too. Yellowstone features dramatic canyons, alpine rivers, lush forests, hot springs and gushing geysers, including its most famous, Old Faithful. It’s also home to hundreds of animal species, including bears, wolves, bison, elk and antelope.
As we were visiting in Fall, the landscape in Yellowstone was drier but the vistas were still beautiful.
The Yellowstone region is one of the most dynamic seismic areas in the world—wracked by earthquakes, cracked by water boiling to the surface, and littered with the detritus of previous volcanic eruptions. Image circa 1985.
Yellowstone National Park is comprised primarily of high, forested, volcanic plateaus that have been eroded over – the millennia by glaciation and stream flow and that are flanked on the north, east, and south by mountains. Image circa 1985.
More than 200 million years ago, flourishing trees and vegetation covered much of this area of Northeastern Arizona. But volcanic lava destroyed the forest, and the remains were embedded into sediment comprised of volcanic ash and water.