Today, we plan to visit the Mammoth Springs area and maybe a bit further into the park.
On our way to Mammoth, we got stopped by an Elk crossing. The Elk herd spends the morning eating grass at the parade grounds in Mammoth and move down into the campground as the day gets hot to rest under trees there.
The male of the herd is absolutely sure he is in charge. He will make sure you know it too if you get to close to him.
Mammoth Hot Springs is HUGE!
Warning Science and history follows:
The terraces of Mammoth cover an area of a quarter of a mile wide by a half a mile.
From the lower area to the top rises over 100 feet. The boardwalks include steep grades and several hundred steps.
Water flowing over the formations are heated up to 170 degrees by lava below the Norris Geyser basin over 16 miles away. A fault line allows the water to flow from that area to the springs at Mammoth. There is two tons of minerals left behind each day as water flows down over the hillside.
The white is almost pure limestone.
Other colors are created not only by different minerals but algae. The bacteria or “Thermophiles” grow in the water and come in several different types. Each type has a preferred temperature and has its own color. There are dark brown, red, orange, yellow, to bright green.
There are between 40 and 50 springs in the area many are long lived enough to have been named. Some are just a trickle and others flowing at gallons per second. Every year old springs stop flowing while new ones begin. Some go completely dry for months and then begin flowing again.
Liberty Cap is a long dead spring that built itself up to 37 feet tall as the flow came out the top over hundreds of years. It must have been very impressive when it was active.
Next, we drove to the Norris Geyser Basin. Along the way, there were several thermal features.
It still amazes me how much activity we have seen. Knowing that the sleeping volcano below us is still alive and could re-wake at any moment.
This mountain is known for making a roaring sound like what you would hear from huge amounts of heated water that has vaporized and rapidly escaping through cracks in the mountain side. Even though this is a quiet time for the mountain, we could see steam shooting 100 feet into the air and the entire mountain side was hot and steaming.
I don’t know who names these things but Nymph? Really? What we could see was a large thermal area that is active.
A pair of huge ravens were so tame. Because animals have lived in the park for many generations not threatened by people, they are barely worried of being approached.
Frying pan springs
WOW! This area was correctly named. An area about 10 feet in diameter boils like a pan on high. It has been boiling like this since it was discovered when the park was first surveyed.
We were going to stop at Steam Boat Geyser but the parking area was completely full. That is not how we like to “tourist”. We will come back another day.
We are a couple who have started on a new adventure...