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  • Mammoth Hot SpringsMammoth Hot Springs Wyoming
    The Mammoth Hot Springs is found in the northwest corner of the park, close to Fort Yellowstone, and is on a hill that has taken many millennia to grow. As the hot water comes to the surface, with its minerals, it cools and leaves a calcium carbonate deposit that forms along the land alongside the springs. It has been estimated that over 4000 pounds of this mixture flows out of the springs every day, and it is a marvelous process to watch. The hot water comes from the Norris Geyser Basin following a fault line going through the limestone, which supplies the calcium carbonate. As the superheated water flows along the fault line, it cools just a bit before rising into the springs at around 170 degrees Fahrenheit. What has created such a beautiful sight here is the algae that grows in the warm water, and then tints the travertine rock into shades of green, orange, brown and red. The thermal processes that continue here, have made Terrace Mountain at the springs, the biggest known carbonate-deposit spring in the entire world. The most well known features here is the terraced travertine, called Minerva Terrace, that has grown over the centuries, but lately various seismic activities have caused the spring hole to move ever so slightly causing the terraces to become dry. These terraces go all the way down the hill and across what is called the Parade Ground and then down into the Boiling River. Fort Yellowstone and the Mammoth Hotel sit on an ancient terrace foundation, that was called the Hotel Terrace, and when construction started on the fort in 1891, there was some trepidation about building here, not knowing if the ground was thick enough to support all the structures. Some big sink holes have grown nearby and are partitioned off on the Parade Ground. The area shows some glacial remains from the Pinedale Glaciation, much of Terrace Mountain being covered by glacial till, which helps scientists date the rock formation to before the end of the Pinedale Glaciation.

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  • Lower Yellowstone River FallsLower Yellowstone River Falls Wyoming
    The Yellowstone Falls includes two huge waterfalls on the Yellowstone River, in the Yellowstone National Park, of Wyoming. The river goes north from Yellowstone Lake into Hayden Valley, where it explodes out over the Upper Yellowstone Falls, and then a quarter mile further down, it goes over the lower falls, into the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, some 1000 feet down. The lower falls are over 300 feet from top to bottom, and twice as high as the Niagara Falls, but only 70 feet across. These falls descend from the Canyon Rhyolite lava flow that is over 590,000 years old, and they are the biggest volume of waterfalls in the Rocky Mountains. Many believe that Jim Bridger was the first white man to view the falls, in 1846, with the Folsom Party explorers. This group was sanctioned by the US government and named the falls in 1869. Earliest images of the falls was a drawing by Private Charles Moore, who was part of the escort by the US army for the Washburn-Langford-Doane Expedition that was exploring the area in 1870. In the Hayden Expedition of 1871, Frank J. Haynes and William Henry Jackson photographed the falls, and Thomas Moran painted them later on. The Canyon loop road goes along the west side of the canyon, with many parking areas, and one trail will take you down to the brink of the falls, and a third of a mile steep decline. You can see them also by going down some attached stairs on the east side.  The historical center was given the Paul Dyck Plains Indian Buffalo Culture Collection, which is the most historic and prominent private collection of Plains Indians artifacts, related materials and artwork in the world. It contains clothing, bear claw necklaces, moccasins, buffalo hide tipis, cradles, peace medals, shields and tipi furnishings dating from the late 18th century up to the early 1890s. It hosts the Plains Indian Museum Powwow every June. 

March 07, 2011