YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK Yellowstone National Park ... Weather permitting?
Welcome to Yellowstone National Park!
Established in 1872, Yellowstone National Park is America's first national park. Located in Wyoming, Montana and Idaho, it is home to a large variety of wildlife including grizzly bears, wolves, bison, and elk. Preserved within Yellowstone National Park are Old Faithful and a collection of the world's most extraordinary geysers and hot springs, and the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone.
Long before any recorded human history in Yellowstone, a massive volcanic eruption spewed an immense volume of ash that covered all of the western U.S., much of the Midwest, northern Mexico and some areas of the eastern Pacific. That climactic event occurred about 640,000 years ago, and was one of many processes that shaped Yellowstone National Park--a region once rumored to be "the place where hell bubbles up."
Geothermal wonders, such as Old Faithful, are evidence of one of the world's largest active volcanoes. These spectacular features bemused and befuddled the park's earliest visitors, and helped lead to the creation of the world's first national park.
Fur trappers' fantastic tales of cauldrons of bubbling mud and roaring geysers sending steaming plumes skyward made their way back east. In 1871, Ferdinand Hayden led a westward expedition that included artist Thomas Moran and photographer William H. Jackson. They brought back images that helped convince Congress that the area known as Yellowstone needed to be protected and preserved.
In 1872, President Ulysses S. Grant signed a law declaring that Yellowstone would forever be "dedicated and set apart as a public park or pleasuring ground for the benefit and enjoyment of the people." It was the first national park ever created.
Did You Know?
The 1988 fires affected 793,880 acres or 36 percent of the park. Five fires burned into the park that year from adjacent public lands. The largest, the North Fork Fire, started from a discarded cigarette. It burned more than 410,000 acres.
'I'll bring my snowshoes' 2011
Heavy snows spoil weekend holiday plans
A key highway into Yellowstone is closed because parts of the road have seen more than 25 feet of snow. And campgrounds are feverishly removing snow from campsites to clear the way for visitors.
Welcome to Memorial Day weekend in much of the West.
The traditional kickoff of the summer season will have a decidedly wintry feel in the Rocky Mountains, as well as California's Sierra Nevada, because of a lingering record snowfall.
Epic snowpack in parts of Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Oregon and California is forcing many tourists to abandon the annual rites of launching their summer holidays with a camping trip. Others plan to take advantage of prolonged skiing and showshoeing this strange spring.
In Denver, Brooke Schmidgall had her sights set on high-country camping this weekend as she shopped for gear at a sporting goods store.
"I'll bring my snowshoes," she said. "We have a big family tent. It will be nice and warm."
Rocky Mountain National Park's popular Trail Ridge Road is closed because of 17-foot snow drifts. Normally, holiday motorists can cruise at altitudes surpassing 11,000 feet but not this year.
Janelle Smith, spokeswoman for the U.S. Forest Service's Rocky Mountain region, recommended that campers consider heading to lower elevations — like Arizona or New Mexico. Campers in Idaho were being warned to check first before heading to camping areas — or risk being turned back by lingering drifts or muddy, impassable roads.
Yellowstone National Park has just one campground open. May 31st 2011 "May snow depths are deeper than anything we have seen in the last 45 years," said avalanche center spokesman Bob Comey..... "We're telling people to be prepared for snow," said park spokesman Al Nash
Y E L L O W STONE
Is the Super Volcano Beneath Yellowstone Ready to Blow?
About 4 miles beneath Yellowstone National Park's beautiful scenery is a forty-mile-wide chamber full of molten rock under incredibly high pressure. This magma is what powers Yellowstone's fantastic geysers and hot springs, but is it about to erupt in a cataclysmic explosion that will decimate the western United States and push mankind to the brink of extinction?
Yellowstone is the crown jewel of the United States national park system. Its mountain vistas, wildlife and geographic features are visited and admired by people from around the world. More than any of those, however, it's the park's thermo-geological features that make it unlike any other part of the globe. No place on earth has as many steam vents, hot springs and active geysers as Yellowstone.
The Yellowstone Volcano could erupt with 10,000 times the force of the explosion at Mount. St. Helens in 1980.
Old Faithful geyser, as well as Yellowstone's other geothermal wonders, is powered by the heart of one of the most powerful volcanos on Earth.
Volcano Questions & Answers
Q: How imminent is an eruption of the Yellowstone Volcano?
A: There is no evidence that a catastrophic eruption at Yellowstone National Park (YNP) is imminent. Current geologic activity at Yellowstone has remained relatively constant since earth scientists first started monitoring some 30 years ago. Though another caldera-forming eruption is theoretically possible, it is very unlikely to occur in the next thousand or even 10,000 years. Scientists have also found no indication of an imminent smaller eruption of lava.
Q: How much advance notice would there be of an eruption?
A: The science of forecasting a volcanic eruption has significantly advanced over the past 25 years. Most scientists think that the buildup preceding a catastrophic eruption would be detectable for weeks and perhaps months to years. Precursors to volcanic eruptions include strong earthquake swarms and rapid ground deformation and typically take place days to weeks before an actual eruption. Scientists at the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory* (YVO) closely monitor the Yellowstone region for such precursors. They expect that the buildup to larger eruptions would include intense precursory activity (far exceeding background levels) at multiple spots within the Yellowstone volcano. As at many caldera systems around the world, small earthquakes, ground uplift and subsidence, and gas releases at Yellowstone are commonplace events and do not reflect impending eruptions.
*The YVO is a collaborative effort between the US Geological Survey, the University of Utah, and YNP to monitor and study the Yellowstone Volcano. Congress has given the USGS the responsibility of volcano hazard assessment, and YNP assists the USGS in their volcano monitoring effort.
Q: In regard to volcanic activity, is it safe to visit Yellowstone?
A: Yes. Scientists do not have any indication of an imminent eruption, or any eruption, at this time.
Q: What is park staff doing to monitor and assess the probability of an eruption?
A: The YVO maintains an array of instruments that monitor activities at Yellowstone around the clock. In addition, YVO scientists collaborate with scientists from all over the world to study and assess the hazards of the Yellowstone volcano. To learn more about Yellowstone's volcanic past and to view current data about earthquakes, ground movement, and stream flow, visit the YVO website at CLICK HERE
Q: When will the volcano erupt again? Will there be any warning? How much warning will there be?
A: The science of forecasting a volcanic eruption has significantly advanced over the past 25 years. Most scientists think that the buildup preceding a catastrophic eruption would be detectable for weeks and perhaps months to years. Precursors to volcanic eruptions include strong earthquake swarms and rapid ground deformation and typically take place days to weeks before an actual eruption. Scientists at the YVO closely monitor the Yellowstone region for such precursors. They expect that the buildup to larger eruptions would include intense precursory activity (far exceeding background levels) at multiple spots within the Yellowstone volcano. As at many caldera systems around the world, small earthquakes, ground uplift and subsidence, and gas releases at Yellowstone are commonplace events and do not reflect impending eruptions.
Q: Is the volcano dormant or extinct or still active?
A: The Yellowstone Volcano is still active. Evidence for the activity of the Yellowstone Volcano are the 1,000 to 3,000 earthquakes per year, active ground deformation, and the over 10,000 thermal features found in Yellowstone.
Q: What is Yellowstone doing to prevent an eruption?
A: Nothing can be done to prevent an eruption. The temperatures, pressures, physical characteristics of partially molten rock, and the immensity of the magma chamber are beyond man's ability to influence--much less control.
Q: How will the park get the word out if there is an eruption?
A: The park would communicate accurate and timely information to park visitors, park employees, concessioners, surrounding communities, media outlets, and other interested parties through the park's 24-hour Communications Center; news releases; established emergency response programs; and through notification of appropriate interagency, state and local government agencies.
Q: Where would it be safe to be during an eruption?
A: For the most likely type of volcanic eruption in Yellowstone, everywhere would be safe except in the immediate vicinity of the advancing lava flow. In the highly improbable event of a large catastrophic eruption, the greater the distance from the eruptive center, the safer it would be. It is impossible to know the effects of the eruption without guessing at the explosivity of the highly unlikely eruption and the total amount of the material erupted.
Q: Would the public know about a possible eruption?
A: Yes. Scientists continuously monitor volcano activity in Yellowstone and share that information through news releases, web sites, etc. Current real-time-monitoring data are online at http://volcanoes.usgs.gov/yvo/monitoring.html.
Q: If Old Faithful quits erupting, is that a sign the volcano is about to erupt?
A: Geysers are natural phenomena and as such, their behavior is unpredictable and subject to unexpected changes. Old Faithful is unique in that its eruptions have been frequent and relatively consistent during the last century or so of observations. We expect Old Faithful to change in response to the ongoing geologic processes associated with mineral deposition and earthquakes. Thus, a change in Old Faithful Geyser's eruptions will not necessarily indicate a change in volcanic activity.
Earthquakes may signal mega-volcano in Yellowstone!
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