Yellowstone Geothermals (Part 2 of 2)

Morning Glory Thermal Pool

Morning Glory Thermal Pool

A volcanic hotspot of magma and molten rock lies below the surface of Yellowstone.  It originates more than 100 miles below and has been shifting, eroding, and erupting for the past two million years.  Yellowstone is only part of an 18 million acre ecosystem that includes the Grand Tetons, much of Wyoming, and parts of Idaho and Montana.


Geyser Basin steam vents, Yellowstone

Geyser Basin steam vents, Yellowstone

One of my favorite thrills was driving through the park very early in the morning when the air was still cool, because the contrasting warm steam vents were so visible…and they were everywhere.



Yesterday’s post focused on the geysers, and today we take a look at the other geothermal elements.  There were steam vents, or fumaroles, as seen here.  Another geothermal feature are the mudpots.  They are a hot pool of mud, a sort of hot spring with not much water.  Gases cause the mudpots to gurgle and bubble.


Heart Spring Thermal Pool and Lion Group Geyser

Heart Spring Thermal Pool and Lion Group Geyser

And then there are the hot springs, ah, so very beautiful.  The photos here represent some of the more stunning geothermal pools and hot springs in Yellowstone’s Upper Geyser Basin.  Whereas geysers have restrictions in their underground plumbing causing the dramatic eruptions, hot springs do not have restrictions.


Hot springs are super heated water features in which the water cools, sinks, and circulates without erupting.  The colors you see surrounding the pool are called thermophiles, and are bacteria and other microbes that thrive in hot water.


Blue Star Thermal Pool

Blue Star Thermal Pool

With over 10,000 geothermal features in Yellowstone, you could spend a lifetime visiting this unique place.  I also had the pleasure of visiting the northern side of the park in yet another geothermal area, called travertine terraces:  Mammoth Hot Springs.  I’ll tell you about that another time.  Thanks for joining me!

Chromatic Thermal Pool

Chromatic Thermal Pool


Photo credit:  Athena Alexander


45 thoughts on “Yellowstone Geothermals (Part 2 of 2)

  1. The first image and last one of the Chromatic Thermal Pool are are magnificent, Jet! Two million years, Wow! I didn’t know there are over 10,000 geothermal features. Thank you for the beautiful images and information.

    • Life around it…I like that. The life around these thermal pools is interesting. We watched nesting ospreys cruising over a very high geyser, they didn’t seem to be too concerned, yet they glided right through some of the steam. Always great to hear from you, Bill. 😀

  2. These is an enormous National Park, with a never ending amount of wonderful natural events. As you said, it would take a lifetime to see it all! I liked that park a lot! Thanks Jet! 🙂

      • It’s certainly one of the joys of blogging, to become acquainted with so many dynamic, interesting people from all over the globe!! Sometimes it’s rather hard to believe, when I think that I’m communicating with folks, not just from around the country, but truly from every continent except Antarctica!! Just amazing.

  3. Fascinating and just stunningly beautiful. It always amazes me how much more you and Athena see than most people (me!). Always a delight to travel with you…

  4. I’ve been to Yellowstone in both the Summer and Winter, and am torn as to which is more impressive/beautiful.
    The myriad of colors that the thermals present in the summer, as well as the geyser activity is spectacular.
    But the stark beauty of the landscape cloaked in the white of winter snow, especially the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone, makes the decision even more difficult. The geysers and thermals lose some charm, due to the steam that is created by the cold that obscures them, but the large wildlife are infinitely easier to spot and watch. And the decrease in visitor numbers makes it eerily quiet. The bugling of the elk can be heard from great distances.
    If you haven’t been there in the winter, you owe it to yourself to put it on your “bucket list”.

    • Yes, Yosemite is two different places in the different seasons too. Your description of Yellowstone sounds very inviting in both seasons, tminch. A delight to hear from you. 😀

  5. Your photographs are spectacular. I particularly like the “Heart Spring tThermal Pool’ (central photograph)—colors & layered effect?—?. Thanks for sharing. It is amazing how many landscapes our Nation flaunts from right to left, and top to bottom, when you look at the big picture.

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