West Thumb Geyser Basin – Then and Now

Before leaving Yellowstone last September, I walked around West Thumb geyser basin to snap some photos of the thermal features. At the time, these three adjacent thermal pools along the middle boardwalk had been full to the rim, crystal clear, and steaming. It looked like they could remain that way forever. I wanted to see whether any thermal features might change over the winter, though, and what surprises might await my return in the spring.

Blue Funnel Spring – September 2013

My original plan was to spend a few mid–May days at Antelope Island state park in the Great Salt Lake and hike Frary Peak, the highest peak on the biggest island in the largest saltwater lake in the western hemisphere. However, cold windy weather and a waffling state of mind led me to a change of plans. This change turned out to be fortuitous, since I would have most likely been eaten alive by Antelope Island’s famous biting gnats. Also, I might have missed this jaw–dropping Z fold in Ogden Canyon.

See the Z across the canyon!

This was all Jerry’s idea. He wanted to go out to the Beaver Dam Mountains and look at the cool metamorphic rocks. There is a canyon on the other side of the mountains, he said. Why don’t we go check it out? Now, Jerry is a geologist but he is also a paleontologist, one of those peculiar people who studies dead things in mud. He claims metamorphic petrology sets his head to spinning. I only have an undergraduate degree in geology but I completed three years worth of field research in these rocks and did my senior project on them (you can read about some of that here!). He figured I could help him recognize a few things and so I said I would do my best to enlighten him.

BeaverDam Metamorphics 021JerryHarrisNEFWFR
Jerry becomes ONE with the metamorphic rocks


Katherine Hanson

Hey there, I'm Katherine Hanson, the curator of watchingforrocks.com, a site dedicated to uncovering the hidden gems of the USA. With a passion for exploration and a love for discovering the beauty in every corner of this vast country, I'm on a mission to share the best cities, national parks, historic landmarks, and entertainment hotspots that the USA has to offer. From towering mountains to bustling cities, there's so much to see and experience. Join me as I embark on adventures and uncover the wonders that make America truly remarkable.
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