Yellowstone is a supervolcano. One of the world’s largest active volcanoes lies beneath Yellowstone. The first major eruption of the Yellowstone volcano occurred 2.1 million years ago and covered more than 5,790 square miles with ash. That’s among the largest volcanic eruptions known, and marks Yellowstone as a supervolcano (a term used to describe any volcano with an eruption of more than 240 cubic miles of magma). While the volcano is still active, it’s been about 70,000 years since the last lava flow. With the U.S. Geological Survey and University of Utah, the National Park Service established the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory in 2001 to monitor volcanic and seismic activity in the area. Pictured here is Great Fountain Geyser, one of the great geysers of Yellowstone. Photo by Greg Chancey. From the Department of the Interior’s blog.
Sunset at Old Faithful, Upper Geyser Basin, Yellowstone National Park. Photo by Henry G Peabody. From the Park’s Historic Photos Collection, circa 1928.
Yellowstone has its own Grand Canyon. The Grand Canyon isn’t just in Arizona — there’s also the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. Created by erosion from the Yellowstone River, the canyon is more than 1,000 feet deep, 1,500-4,000 feet wide and roughly 20 miles long — it also provides endless views. A view of Lower Falls and Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone from Artist Point by Diane Renkin, National Park Service. From the Department of the Interior’s blog.
Half the world’s hydrothermal features are found at Yellowstone. Yellowstone National Park preserves more than 10,000 hydrothermal features — an extraordinary collection of hot springs, mudpots, fumaroles, travertine terraces and — of course — geysers. Microorganisms called thermophiles — meaning “heat loving” — live in these features and give the park its brilliant colors. Grand Prismatic Spring at Midway Geyser Basin paints an incredible picture in vibrant blues, yellows and oranges. Photo by Natalia Ornia. From the Department of the Interior’s blog.
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