Yellowstone National Park, established by the U.S. Congress and signed into law by President Ulysses S. Grant on March 1, 1872, is a national park located primarily in the U.S. state of Wyoming, although it also extends into Montana and Idaho. Yellowstone was the first national park in the world, and is known for its wildlife and its many geothermal features, especially Old Faithful Geyser, one of the most popular features in the park. It has many types of ecosystems, but the subalpine forest is dominant.
Yellowstone National Park spans an area of 3,468.4 square miles (8,983 km2), comprising lakes, canyons, rivers and mountain ranges. Yellowstone Lake is one of the largest high-altitude lakes in North America and is centered over the Yellowstone Caldera, the largest supervolcano on the continent. The caldera is considered an active volcano. It has erupted with tremendous force several times in the last two million years. Half of the world's geothermal features are in Yellowstone, fueled by this ongoing volcanism. Lava flows and rocks from volcanic eruptions cover most of the land area of Yellowstone. The park is the centerpiece of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, the largest remaining, nearly intact ecosystem in the Earth's northern temperate zone.
Yellowstone National Park in Supervolcano
Colin Ferguson vacationed at Yellowstone National Park over a Memorial Day weekend to try to get his mind off his wife leaving him for another man. There he met Kelly Birnbaum, a geology post-grad studying the supervolcano, who he began dating. In that way he unexpectedly succeeded in his plan.
Signs of a potential eruption of the supervolcano began appearing two years before when a new magma dome formed under Coffee Pot Springs. This caused the spring to bubble more violently and created a new, major geyser. About six months before eruption, a conventional volcano began forming and erupting at Ranger Lake, on the other side of the park. This, along with Pitchstone Plateau becoming a lava field once more, forced the Park Service to close all but the northern part of the Park.
When the supervolcano erupted, most of the Park became part of the new caldera with the ground around it falling half a mile down and hundreds of cubic miles of rock blown out.
- Eruption, pgs. 1-2, HC.
- Ibid, pgs. 12-13.
- Ibid, pgs. 60-66.
- Ibid, pgs. 102-108.
- Ibid, pgs. 117-120.
- Ibid, pg. 297.