Did you know that Yellowstone was the first ever National Park? Me nether. In 1872 because of its geological significance, historical value and shear beauty it was declared the first ever National Park in the world. Housing the majority of the worlds geysers (over 300 of them) hot springs and mud pots Yellowstone is a geologists wet dream. Scientists come from all over the world to study over 10,000 thermal features. And they have over 2 million tourists, following hot on their heels....(do you like what i did there?)
We started at the North entrance to the park and headed straight for Mammoth Hot Springs. Its the sight of, well, a Mammoth Hot Spring. Water just emerges from the ground forming pools of hot, mineral rich liquid that then overflows to create another pool that then overflows to create another and so on...and then just disappears back in to the ground. The end result is huge cascade of steaming, brightly coloured waterfalls. They are hard to describe, but they are just beautiful, if a little smelly...
Its not actually the minerals that give it its wonderful colour though. Thousand of tiny organisms called Thermopiles thrive in the hot temperatures and good old photosynthesis is what gives them the wonderful colours making the rockface a huge living organism.
Where the magma mass is closer to the earths surface (the closest recorded is only 4 miles) it super heats the water to a record 400*F and builds pressure and steam. This is what forms the mud pots and geysers.
The most well know is of course "Old Faithful" which was brill to see. Although not quite as faithful as he used to be after an earthquake in 1952 changed "the plumbing" in the park. Some geysers just stopped and others became more frequent, others that had dried up years ago started flowing again. Apparently a common practice in the park. The great pressure that is evident from the churning and groaning as he prepares to blow is breathtaking and a real crowd pleaser.
Another beauty in the park is the wildlife and seing my first Buffalo made me squeal.... or was it a Bison? Whats the difference between a Buffalo and a Bison i hear you ask...
Well you cant wash yr hands in a Buffalo..........parumpum......sorry
But seriously we saw more animals in one day at Yellowstone than we have in our whole time here. It was pretty cool...
Horned mountain Goats