Yellowstone Supervolcano

I was last in Yellowstone National Park in 2006.  Laurel and I, and our son Tim and his wife Joyce, went there as we drove back from a family reunion in Iowa.  Laurel and I had been there before (as had our son), but  his wife is an east coast girl who grew up in the Atlanta area and she’d never really seem much of the west before.  She did her undergrad work at Stanford, but that didn’t give her time to see much of the west…and she went  home in the summers.

If you’ve not been to Yellowstone, it’s a very diverse place.  There are beautiful lakes and rivers, high mountains, geysers, forests, hot springs where the smell of the sulfur is strong and pungent.  But to my way of thinking, the best part of Yellowstone is the animals.  Moose, elk, bison, wolves, eagles, bear, mountain lions, deer and all the other expected critters (skunks, porcupines, beavers, badgers, goats, etc.) make it an animal lover’s paradise.  It is amazing, however, how crazy some folks are when they get around wild creatures such as bison.  They seem to think that they’re tame…and though the warnings are visible and frequent about not getting close to the animals (especially bison and moose and bear), people pull over along the roadside and get out of their cars and walk over to within 15-20 feet of the huge, powerful beasts.

Alas, I don’t have a photo today of the animals…but I do of one of the hot pools.  We were there in the summertime, but the steam coming off the pool was still very thick.  Many may not realize it, but the Yellowstone plateau is also known as the Yellowstone Supervolcano or Yellowstone Caldera.  The park is largely the result of huge volcanic explosions that took place 3 different times, the most recent being about 640,000 years ago.  That particular explosion jettisoned 240 CUBIC MILES of dirt, rock and dust into the atmosphere.

One should not think the volcano is extinct – it is not.  It is the heat and pressure of the magma under the surface that causes the hot springs, geysers, etc., that help to make Yellowstone famous.  In fact, between 2004-2008, the surface of the supervolcano caldera rose 3 times faster (about 3 inches each year) than ever before – but since 2009 it has slowed significantly, but the ground level does continue to rise, indicating an increasing pressure underground.  Kinda makes you a bit leery to visit Yellowstone, doesn’t it?

This photo was made in 2006 with my old Sony A-100 DSLR.

A hot pool in Yellowstone National Park

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1926, Robert Byrd flew over the north pole.  On this day in 1929, he flew over the south pole.  He was the first American go achieve this feat.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: human skin has about 100,000 bacteria per square centimeter.  Approximately 10% of the weight of a human (dry weight) is due to the weight of bacteria.  Now, sleep on that one!!!


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