Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Yellowstone - Mammoth Hot Springs

As we headed toward Mammoth Hot Springs in the north side of the park, we passed one of the petrified trees. These are rather unique in Yellowstone since so many are vertical and indicate a sudden volcanic activity that resulted in the petrification. 

A short distance later, we entered the Mammoth Hot Springs and stopped at the Visitor Center. Orinda was impressed with this buffalo head and figured this was way to close to be to one of these still on the hoof.

Mammoth was the site of Fort Yellowstone, which is why most of the beautiful buildings in the area were built. The Army was called in 10 years after the Park was established due to the many problems that beset the park by poachers, visitors, lack of funds, and poor management.

 This is the current Visitor's Center, but was originally the Fort's Bachelor Office Quarters and was built back in 1909. The Army did a great job of administering Yellowstone for some 30 years.

These are some of the other original buildings from the Fort. We learned that this was a great post to be assigned to as an officer or enlisted man. The summer months must have been great, although the winters were more of a challenge. The troops used skis to get around in the heavy snow since horses could not move in the deep snow.

The namesake of Mammoth Hot Springs is located just outside the small town and is indeed a mammoth spring. This spring has built up over thousands of years and is still growing. We have been to the springs several times, but had not seen much water on top until this year. You can see the large pool of water falling down the terraces.

 Rick enjoyed looking at the pools and watching the waters move. These are hot springs with plenty of steam coming out as well. The brown color of the spring is due to various algae that grows in this temperature. Other algae, such as the green type, grows in slightly cooler water.

When the springs emit enough water to build up a terrace, the water moves to another location, leaving the once brown/green algae high and dry. The result is that the terrace becomes white as shown here.

This growing terrace shows both the brown algae and the older, white surfaces. There was quite a bit of hot water flowing down the sides of this as it grows ever larger. This is really geology in action.


Chuck and Anneke's RV travels said...

More great pictures. I was a bit disappointed in the petrified tree.

squawmama said...

Wonderful photos and history of the Mammoth Hot Springs area... Loved it and wished we were there too...
Have fun & Travel safe