Sunday, September 2, 2012

What Not To Do In A Thermal Area

Eeew! It’s green, it’s slimy, and it’s moving! It’s alive! 

We must be on a trail in Yellowstone.

Pausing at the edge of the thready, clumping masses of odorous oozing slime, we decided on the best route across to give us the best chance of not having our boot soles eaten away by any sulfuric acid that might be floating by. I hopped the rocks with just a few splashes of the bright green substance clinging to my new boots. Jan, however, chose the more direct route across a flimsy log, mere inches above the goo. 

Jan exhibits Olympic concentration!
After Jan picked her way precariously across the stream we pondered what was living there, fascinated by what we observed. 


How hot and/or acidic is this water, anyway? Should I or should I not use my handy–dandy finger as a thermometer and pH indicator to find out? 


Well…Just a touch couldn’t hurt, could it?   
Could it?

OH, NO!  


Using your finger to test any thermal area is not a good idea!

No thermal areas were actually probed nor digits lost in the recording of this public service announcement.


  1. I learned that the hard way at Mammoth hotsprings by sticking my big toe into a tiny bubbly spot next to the river. Amazing I didn't end up with 4th degree burns.

    1. Gaelyn! Tsk tsk! Glad you were ok, tho.

      This sort of activity goes on ALL the time - people sticking their fingers into the thermal features, especially the runoff channels (doesn't the rising STEAM from the pools tell them anything?) and also writing their names in the bacterial mats. AGHHHH!!!!!!
      I ask them "WHY did you think this was ok to do?"