Yellowstone National Park is located over the top of what is known as a supervolcano. To be classified as a supervolcano there must have been an eruption of at least an 8 magnitude. The last time that Yellowstone erupted was 70,000 years ago.
During a Yellowstone eruption 12 million years ago, the ash was so thick that it killed off many dinosaurs. A large group of prehistoric creatures met their demise while drinking from a watering hole in rural Nebraska due to this Yellowstone eruption. The archeological dig managed by the University of Nebraska is known as the Ashfall Fossil Beds. They have uncovered 19 different genera of animals that died of lung failure due to vast ash blown in from the eruption.
But I digress. The topic of the Ashfall Fossil Beds is for another blog post on another day.
Yellowstone’s supervolcano is active, with 700 to 3,000 earthquakes recorded per year. The thermal heat and activity below the park produce a plethora of thermal features including the famed geysers like Old Faithful, springs, pools, and vents. There are over 10,000 thermal features in the park.
During day two in the park we witnessed many of the thermal features in the southern and western sections of the park. The geysers are spread out in many parts of the park. We visited Mammoth Hot Springs, Norris Geyser Basin, Artists Paint Pots, Lower Geyser Basin, Midway Geyser Basin, Upper Geyser Basin, West Thumb Geyser Basin and the Hayden Valley Geyser Basin.
Steamboat geyser in Norris Geyser Basin. It did not erupt while we were there this year, but we did get to see it erupt in July 2020 from the Norris Geyser Basin Lookout. Again, our guide Mike was tipped off and we just got parked in time to see this once every other week eruption.
We saw most of the thermal features on day 2 in the park. Some of the photos and videos were from the 2020 trip that Beth and I took to Yellowstone. With 6 people in the vehicle, getting us all in and out took time. Seeing as many thermal features as reasonably possible in one day is difficult and tiring.
The kids, mom and frankly the two of us, while in awe of and impressed by the thermal features were not nearly as excited during day 2 of thermal features as we were during days 1 and 3 with loads of wildlife at Lamar Valley and Hayden Valley. However, I’d wager that the entire traveling party loved the 3 days we spent in the park with Mike our tour guide from Yellowstone Wonders.
It was time and money well spent. Beth and I will do it again. Maybe in the winter months next time.