Monday, May 31, 2010

day 17: i checked out some boiling-hot geology porn

Yesterday around 2 a.m. my brother A. and I arrived at Yellowstone National Park, and everything here is boiling and steaming and spewing in a way that has me convinced it wants us all dead. 

Turns out Yellowstone is actually a volcanic hotspot, and last time it erupted some 650,000 years ago it covered half the U.S. in volcanic ash. And it is still very much alive, as bulging and surging beneath the ground is enough magma to push the ground up to an elevation 2,000 feet higher than the surrounding land. Which is probably why it might snow here tomorrow on the first day of June.

In some spots where rainwater and melted snow seep through the earth, the magma heats it up and spews it back out along with other gases, creating the geothermal features Yellowstone is famous for. 

Enjoy some free geology porn from our first day in the park, as well as some funny shit we encountered along the way:

Artist's Paintpot

"I think the term 'continental breakfast' is misleading. It doesn't sound like it should mean 'shitty,' but it means 'shitty.'" A., Travelodge in Rapid City, South Dakota

Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone

Unfortunately-named South Dakota politicians: David Lust and Scott Munsterman

Sulphur Cauldron

"Do we get a free sample of gold?" - little boy in Mt. Rushmore Cave

Mud Volcano

Potential smallest town ever: Emblem, Wyoming, with an official population of 10

Tomorrow we visit Old Faithful and Mammoth Hot Springs. And we eat more Montana huckleberry ice cream, because dammit, that shit is good.

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