Sunday, June 24, 2012

Sulfurous Sunday

Visit any thermal area in Yellowstone National Park and you are sure to come upon at least one surprise. No two geyser basins are alike. Some are shimmering, steaming blue alkaline springs such as Grand Prismatic (the largest hot spring in North America). 

GrandPrismatic_ Excelsior_ Turquoise
Grand Prismatic Spring in Midway Geyser Basin



Others are, well, stinky, migraine–inducing, violently churning cauldrons of boiling mud and sulfurous steam with a pH of 0.7. That’s battery acid strength, my friends. 

IMG_1534Sulfur Cauldron
Sulfur Cauldron
Let me introduce you to Sulfur Cauldron, conveniently located a short stroll across the Park road from the Mud Volcano area, itself a hotbed of acidic, muddy sulfurous springs with a pH (the measure of acidity vs alkalinity) that would put lemon juice and vinegar to shame. 

IMG_1522Sulfur Cauldron
Sulfur Cauldron

Inhale the invigorating sulfurous fumes of Yellowstone for as long as you are able, and try not to pass out!!! 

IMG_1526Sulfur Cauldron
Sulfur Cauldron - but what is that innocuous–appearing hillside in the distance???

10 comments:

  1. My guess is the hillside is part of a resurgent dome -- any points ??

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    1. Correctamundo, Larry! That hill is a resurgent dome of shallow magma. But...which one? There ARE two in the Park, after all.

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    2. The second word in my comment above is "guess" !! This was a non- scientific wild a_s guess from a non-geologist and now you want me to tell which one it is. You only asked what it is - NOT the name.

      But - the Sour Creek Dome, just north of Fishing Bridge, is causing Yellowstone Lake to tilt southward. However, since 1986 the dome has either declined or stayed the same.

      Any points yet ????

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    3. Yes indeed, Guess-Master Larry! Right again! Sour Creek dome is correctamundo! You win all the points!

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  2. I remember farting a lot when in Yellowstone.

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    1. That's quite an admission, Gaelyn! I guess you could say that's what the thermal features do, too, along with their belching.

      Too much fun in Yellowstone!

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  3. from the description of some the above mentioned areas, you may have just thought you were farting, Gaelyn.

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    1. Judy - Sulfurous belching and farting of gases - in Yellowstone, it's not often easy to determine from whence those essences emanate!

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  4. Nothing like a bit of Sulfur on a Sunday ;) Lovely photos of a stinky place :D

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  5. So glad you enjoy the photos, Tom. The sulfur is so strong it could almost ooze out of your computer screen!

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