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Destination Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park was named after the Yellowstone River. Native Americans called the river “Mi tsi a da zi,” which meant “Rock Yellow River,” and was translated by French fur trappers to “Yellow Rock” or “Yellow Stone,” hence the name Yellowstone. John Coltzer was one of the first people to have explored the Yellowstone area. Coltzer was from the Lewis and Clark expedition and he walked alone through this area in 1807 while in search of furs. Since 1827, though, Yellowstone has been a national park and it was actually the World’s First National Park.

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Yellowstone is also a World Heritage Site and a Biosphere Reserve Site. Yellowstone would not have been possible, though, without the act that was passed on March 1st, 1872 by Congress that set aside land for the first national park. The Yellowstone National Park is located 96% in Wyoming, 3% in Montana and 1% in Idaho. The Park has 5 entrances, 466 miles of roads (310 miles paved), 950 miles of trails, and 287 campsites. The entire park is 3,472 square miles and is 2,221,766 acres.

The highest point in the park is Eagle Peak at 11,358 feet above sea level and the lowest point is Reese Creek at 5,282 feet above sea level. Yellowstone has many geological features, such as fumaroles. Fumaroles are vents that emit steam mixed with other volcanic gasses. Some fumaroles in Yellowstone include the Black Growler Steam Vent and the Norris Geyser Basin. Hot springs are also another feature in Yellowstone. The park contains more hot springs than geysers. Mineral deposits have formed terraces and cones on some nearby land.

Mammoth Hot Springs is one hot springs in Yellowstone where water flows over terraces as high as 300 feet. Algae and various bacteria prosper in these pools of warm water, giving them radiant colors. The park also contains Mud Pots. Mud pots are when sulfide gas is present and hot water is restricted so that sulfuric acid is created. The acid disintegrates the surrounding rocks into silica and clay, forming a mud-like substance, hence the nickname “Mud pot. ” Geysers are also a large attraction at Yellowstone.

Expanding steam bubbles condensing inside these structures build up from heating water inside the small duct until water overflows from the geyser. Some geysers in Yellowstone are Giant, Giantess, Steamboat, Riverside, Sapphire Geyser, Daisy, Grand, Porkchop, Great Fountain and the famous Old Faithful. Old Faithful is one of the most popular geysers in Yellowstone. It erupts approximately ever 75 minutes and can shoot water as high as 170 feet. At Yellowstone, there used to be a volcano!

This volcano, though, erupted about 650,000 years ago, which made a caldera 53 X 28 miles across, which is now Yellowstone National Park. During the eruption, the lava covered more than 3,000 square miles and when it solidified, it was called Lava Creek Tuff. The volume of it was about 240 cubic meters. Algae builds up on many surfaces of water, such as the geysers, and enhance them with brilliant vivacious colors. The three types of blue-green algae are unicellular, colonial, and filamentous. These types appear all over Yellowstone such as the magnificent coloring of the rocks.

Some other forms of algae appear as brownish or greenish gelatin-like layers that appear on damp ground or moist wooden structures in greenhouses, while other forms float freely in or on water. Yellowstone River is last major undammed river in the lower 48 states. The Yellowstone River flows into the southeast corner of the park and into Yellowstone Lake. Yellowstone Lake is the largest natural freshwater lake. The lake covers 136 square miles, is 20 miles long by 14 miles wide, and has a shoreline of 110 miles. Yellowstone National Park houses many endangered animals and by some is called eighth wonder of the world.

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