|Above, Mammoth Hot Springs Terraces. Photo by Armand Vaquer.|
One of the more interesting stops during our tours of Yellowstone National Park was at the Mammoth Hot Springs Terraces.
The terraces seem like a place from another world, but they are very much a part of Earth's geology. The terraces are constantly changing their shape and color.
|Above, an other-worldly view of the terraces. Photo by Armnd Vaquer.|
According to the National Park Service:
Several key ingredients combine to make the Mammoth Hot Springs Terraces: heat, water, limestone, and a rock fracture system through which hot water can reach the earth's surface.
Today's geothermal activity is a link to past volcanism. A partially molten magma chamber, remnant of a cataclysmic volcanic explosion 600,000 years ago in central Yellowstone, supplies one of the ingredients, heat.
Hot water is the creative force of the terraces. Without it, terrace growth ceases and color vanishes. The source of the water flowing out of Yellowstone's geothermal features is rain and snow. Falling high on the slopes in and around Yellowstone, water seeps deep into the earth. This cold ground water is warmed by heat radiating from the magma chamber before rising back to the surface.
|Above and below, Mammoth Hot Springs Terraces. Photo by Armand Vaquer.|
|Above, near to the Mammoth Hot Springs Terraces walkway, stands Liberty Cap. Photo by Armand Vaquer.|
Standing near to the walkway leading up to the lower terraces, stands the now-extinct Liberty Cap.
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