NOTE: IN ORDER TO BETTER SEE PHOTOS IN THEIR FULL 1600 PX. RESOLUTION, VIEW THEM IN THE ALBUM FORMAT BY CLICKING ON THE LEAD PHOTO OR ANY PHOTO IN THE POST. This is especially true for landscape shots. Thanks to Mark for the idea of adding this alert so the photos can be seen at their best!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Yellowstone Flashback - Volcanic Landscape

The following is part of a series of posts about the trip Wayne and I took to Yellowstone National Park in 2009.

So, before I start talking about Yellowstone, please take the time to ooh and aah over the minor changes I made to my blog's appearance.  I had enough time on my hands to sit down and figure out how to change the colors of my links and text to make them easier to see.  Aren't you impressed?  I don't know why I couldn't figure it out before.  I must be extra smart today. I do love my template though and can't imagine a time when I will change that.  The greens and browns just go well with the nature photography that is my usual fare here, and though it works okay for other folks' blogs I just can't live with all that white that is on the newer layouts for myself.

Discharge from Excelsior Geyser makes its way to the Firehole River

Now let's talk about Yellowstone, land of geysers, mudpots and hot springs.  Looking for a pleasant walk?  We really enjoyed the boardwalk at Midway Geyser Basin.  The half mile trail runs past Turquoise Pool, Grand Prismatic Spring, and alongside the crater of Excelsior Geyser.

Turquoise Pool

The main attraction here is Grand Prismatic Spring, the largest hot spring in Yellowstone and the third largest in the world.  Of course, size isn't everything, right?  It was the colors that drew me in.

Grand Prismatic Spring

The color comes from the bacteria in the microbial mats, and it depends on the ratio of chlorophyll to carotenoids and on the temperature of the water.  Different bacteria will thrive at different temperatures and the water temperature cools as it reaches the edges.  

No swimming in these pools please, temperatures range from 142F at Turquoise Pool to 199F at Excelsior Geyser.

Excelsior Geyser

Excelsior Geyser was once the largest geyser in the world, but the last major eruption occurred in the late 1800's.  Now it is just a hot spring, pouring 199F water into the Firehole River.  Watching it literally bubble and boil was fascinating and a reminder that this land was alive and dangerous.

Basalt columns from cooling lava flows peek out on canyon walls, and the Yellowstone River cuts a wide swath through the volcanic landscape.

Most folks come for the geysers, but I loved the severity of the landscape, the way the earth steamed and the water simmered.  And, of course, the wildlife, but more about that next time.

This is my fifth post about Yellowstone, if you missed the other posts you can click on the Wyoming label below, click this link to get the first Yellowstone post last February, or type Yellowstone in to the "search this blog" box.


  1. Love your pictures. The colors really are everything. We were there in 2011 for two weeks and it wasn't nearly long enough. I think two weeks in each park in the campground would be much better.

  2. Love your photos of the prismatic spring. Makes me want to swing through Yellowstone on my way home to SD next summer.

  3. Yes, your photos are very colorful and evoke many great memories for me. Jimmy and I have spent quite a bit of time in Yellowstone NP and camping on the Yellowstone River in Livingston, MT. Seeing your pics makes me want to go there again this summer!

  4. Gorgeous pictures of the hot springs. Love Yellowstone.