Calgary Expatriation

Episode 7

Friday 20th May, 2006

Yellowstone National Park is in Northern Wyoming - about a 10 hour drive from Calgary. I jumped at the chance to see this volcanic park both for its geysers, hot springs and its wildlife. Two and a half days in this park really didn't do it justice.

Below: Palette Spring at Mammoth Hot Springs.

Above: I had incredible luck spotting wildlife at Yellowstone. On my first day there I got to see a black bear wandering through a paddock. It got to within about 70m of where I was standing and didn't really take any notice of the human presence.

Below: Of course there's always an idiot who just wants to get real close. I was kind of hoping the bear would go him as I was perfectly positioned for some great shots!

Right: Not far from where I was staying was an eagles nest. These two bald eagles would later provide some great photos.

Below: One of the amazing things about Yellowstone is how varied the landscape is. It ranges from very arid to alpine rainforest. Some parts look almost devastated, either by pine beatles, earthquakes, thermal heating of the ground or fire. In the foreground of this picture are some Elk. I would see plenty more later on.

Above: Yellowstone is one huge seismically active area, powered by a Super Volcano deep underneath the surface. Eruptions from Super Volcanos such as the one under Yellowstone are some of the biggest on Earth. The last eruption in Yellowstone created a caldera 1km deep and 30 x 70km in area. It was 450 times bigger than the Mt St Helens eruption! This photo shows some of the thermal springs and geysers way off in the distance releasing steam. Note the size of the cars on the left in comparison.

Right: In this photo a mud pot bubbles away near boiling point. It differs from hot springs near by the evaporation of most of the water in the thermal plumbing. Steam from a nearby hot spring can be seen in the background.

Above: The hot spring that was causing the steam in the last image. A smaller hot spring bubbles away in the foreground. Unlike the mud pot, the water in these hot springs (despite being close to 100°) is incredibly clear.

Below: Whilst driving around, you do have to be very careful of the wildlife. Some of these buffalo are BIG! (and quite tasty too!)

Above: Old Faithful geyser is the best known geyser in Yellowstone National Park. One of the reasons for this is because it erupts with near regularity every hour and a half, plus or minus 10 minutes. Old Faithful will spray a jet of superheated water up to 55m into the air for a few minutes at a time.

Below: Castle geyser erupts every 10-12 hours and steams away in between. Bacteria mats thrive in the hot water and produce the orange colouring around the geyser. The orange and blue colours are quite common around many of the hot pools and geysers.

Above: Crested Pool.