Geology of Yellowstone

2770 words 12 pages
It is believed that Native Americans inhabited the lands of what is now Yellowstone National Park for more than 11,000 years, until approximately 200 years ago, when European settlers began to drive many of them from their homelands. In 1872 Yellowstone was declared the world’s first national park as a way to preserve and protect the land for the “benefit and enjoyment of future generations.” (National Park Service) Yellowstone National Park covers a vast area in the Northwestern United States. Its landscape is very complex and ever changing thanks to the many geological forces that are found there. In fact, the unique geological features such as the geysers, hot springs, steam vents, among many others, are what lead to
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It is believed that future lava flows are more likely to occur than a catastrophic volcanic eruption, although there is no scientific evidence to indicate such a lava flow will occur soon. (Solcomhouse)
Yellowstone’s volcano has created over 10,000 hydrothermal features including geysers, fumaroles, mudpots, and hot springs. More than 300 active geysers are found there, which is roughly half of those found on earth. A geyser is a type of hot spring that erupts periodically, and that ejects hot water and steam into the air. Water from the surface seeps into the ground and comes into contact with rocks heated by magma. The hot water then rises through cracks and fissures in the earth. When this super heated water comes into contact with the cooler water above the weight and pressure causes an overflow, which relieves the pressure on the super-heated water, causing it to flash into steam. It is that flash that shoots the water and steam into the air. Fumaroles, also known as steam vents, are the hottest hydrothermal features at Yellowstone. There is so little water in a fumarole, that what is there, turns to steam before it reaches the surface, unlike a geyser, which ejects steam and water. When the steam escapes, it often makes a hissing noise. Mudpots are thermal areas where sedimentary rocks are melted to clay from the hot water and the rising steam below. This rising steam forces its way to the surface causing the mud to burst upward. Hot


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