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Yellowstone National Park

A national emblem

 

The Yellowstone National Park has fast become a worldwide known name. In 1872, the American President, Ulysses S. Grant passed a law that stated Yellowstone was to become the first national park in America and in fact the world. It can be found mostly in the State of Wyoming; however, the park actually extends through into Idaho and even Montana so you may be able to understand how large this national park really is.

Yellowstone National Park is known for its vast wildlife as well as the many amazing features it has including the Old Faithful Geyser; this has fast become a popular feature for many. Though, strangely, Yellowstone also has a vast ecosystem; it has several to be exact and there is a subalpine forest which is the dominant of all ecosystems.

The Early Life of Yellowstone

Many do not know that for almost over 10,000 years, Yellowstone was actually the home to many Native Americans and that the region of Yellowstone was very much unknown for many years. It was a vast region that was very much unexplored or discovered even during the Expedition mission of Lewis and Clark which was in the 19th century, the early part of the century. However, the region was visited occasionally by the mountain men during the early and mid part of the 19th century.

It wasn’t until the late 1860’s when there was actually an organized exploration date set of Yellowstone. It was the American Army who was brought in to oversee things in the park. However, in 1917, the administration of the park was handed over; control was passed over to the National Park Service created in 1916. Since the early 1900’s, there have been many structures erected to help protect the historical features and architectural history of the Yellowstone National Park. What is more, over one thousand different archaeological sites have also been discovered and examined by researches since 1917.

Yellowstone National Park Facts
Grand Prismatic Spring

The Vastness of Yellowstone

Yellowstone is actually extremely large as it can span over a huge area of 8, 980 KM2; this is three thousand, four hundred and sixty eight point four square miles. This is a vast area to explore and there are many canyons, mountain ranges, rivers and of course lakes that make up Yellowstone. It is a beautiful area to explore and it holds so many secrets because even though it was discovered in the 1800’s, still so much is unknown.

The Yellowstone Lake is considered to be one of the few largest lakes that are high altitude lakes throughout North America. The largest super volcano can also be found on the North American continent – the Yellowstone Caldera. This is a fantastic feature of Yellowstone but it is still an active volcano. It has erupted thousand years ago and the force of the eruptions has all been very wild and very dangerous.

The Yellowstone Caldera actually covers most of the land area of Yellowstone; this is from the rocks from the volcano as well as the lava flow which also comes during the eruptions. What is more, almost 50% of the world’s geothermal factors come from Yellowstone and are found in Yellowstone. This is because of the volcano which creates a lot of friction and volcanism also.

However, the centrepiece of the National Park has to be the world’s bigger ecosystem – the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem. It is the biggest in the North Temperate Zone on Earth. The Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem is almost intact and is considered to be the largest of all ecosystems.

Though, in Yellowstone, there are dozens of different species of fish, reptiles, birds and mammals. There are hundreds in fact and many of them have been studied and documented by the authorities. There are several species which are considered to be endangered; and there might still be species out there that is undiscovered.

Though, the grasslands and forests are tremendous as they are very large and there are endless species of plants which are considered to be unique also. There are many different types of animals found in the park including herds of elk and bison – which are free and unkempt; and there are also wolves and grizzly bears that can be found in Yellowstone. This is their home and they are undisturbed by many who visit; and the bison herd in the park is actually the oldest herd found in America today.

Mostly each year, there will be a forest fire that breaks out. This can occur and one of the biggest fires was in 1988 in which almost a third of the entire park was damaged and burnt. Though, the park is considered to be safe as there are many recreational activities to complete.

– Boating

– Fishing

– Sightseeing

– Hiking

– Camping

Yellowstone National Park information
Bison in Yellowstone National Park

These are only a few examples of recreational activities. However the park does have millions of visitors each year including tourists and local parties also. There are many good paved roads which allow visitors to easily access the various areas of the park. They can take visitors to the beautiful sights of the waterfalls the park has and of course some of the most amazing lakes also. During the winter time however, most of the visitors are going to use snow mobiles or snow coaches to visit the park and delve deeper into the park also.

However, in the very early life of the park, there were many who wanted to reduce the overall size of the park. Many wanted to be able to use some of the land that Yellowstone covered for things such as hunting, logging, mining and many other activities could go ahead. However, that was when the American government got involved; though it was difficult to prevent anything happening to the park as there was very little money available.

Today, the Yellowstone National Park is a national icon and something which is very popular. It is a natural beauty and something that is very spectacular indeed with many amazing features to view as well as history found here.

Location

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Yellowstone Volcano

 

There are events that take place throughout the history of the world that are so massive that they are ingrained in our heads from the moment that we hear of them. The places in which those events took place become a tourist spot for many people to visit but at one point they were the site of disaster. One such place is Yellowstone Park. The site where many people in the US visit every year as one of the national parks in the country is also the site of the Yellowstone Volcano. This is what is called a supervolcano which means that its eruptions have been categorized as a VEI8 (volcano eruption index).

Yellowstone Plateau

There are three calderas in the Yellowstone Plateau. The first one is the Henry’s Fork Caldera which is located in Idaho and it was formed 1.3 million years ago. The Island Park Caldera is oval shaped and it is much larger. It extends very much into the Yellowstone National Park. The Yellowstone Caldera can also be found within the park but the only one to be visible currently is the Henry’s Fork Caldera. The Island Park Caldera is much older than Henry’s Fork and its dimensions are close to 80 by 65 km. That should give you an idea of how big a Yellowstone Volcano explosion could be.

Previous Eruptions

The Yellowstone Volcano has erupted in the past and it will erupt again. It has been calculated that this supervolcano erupts every 600,000 years with the last recorded eruption happening 640,000 years ago. Today there have been four recorded VEI8 eruptions recorded at Yellowstone, with the oldest taking place 2 million years ago and the most recent one 640,000 years ago.

Where Will The Eruption Take Place?

The massive size of the Yellowstone Volcano means that there are different areas where the next eruption could take place. More than likely an eruption of the Yellowstone Volcano would be centered in a parallel fault zone out of three possibilities. The two areas with the largest flow of lava are always a possibility but in recent years a third area has been displaying frequent tremors. Because scientists know these areas they can monitor them closely. While the massive eruptions don’t take place often, small ones do take place a lot more frequently but they are not of the explosive kind.

What Happens When The Yellowstone Volcano Erupts?

The Yellowstone Volcano is known to be a supervolcano because in the past (2 million years ago) it released over 600 cubic miles of lava and ash in one single event. When the last eruption took place about 640,000 years ago it is believed that it caused the last ice age. The reason the ice age took place after the eruption is that the ash went up to the atmosphere blocking a lot of the heat the planet receives from the sun. That led to many species dying because vegetation could not survive and therefore animals had no food. Another supervolcano explosion which happened in Indonesia about 74,000 years ago is believed to have killed close to 60% of the human population.

What Would Happen Today?

If the Yellowstone Volcano were to erupt today the consequences could be even greater than the Sumatra supervolcano which killed close to 60% of the population. The number of people in the world is a little over 7 billion already and if an ice age were triggered and animals and vegetation were to die then even fewer people would be able to survive. Food shortages would take place almost immediately and they would affect people even on the other side of the world. Those who live in the nearby area, especially those in Wyoming and the surrounding states, would stand no chance. The lava would kill most of the people in the area and those unlikely survivors would asphyxiate when they breathe in the ash. In other words, a Yellowstone Volcano eruption could mean the extinction of life on the planet.

What Are The Chances?

Despite the fact that some believe that an eruption at Yellowstone is overdue the chances of seeing an eruption on any given day are very small. Those chances have been calculated to be less than 1 in 10,000 of it happening in a given year and that is including the smaller eruptions. That is not to say that an eruption will not take place sometime; eventually the volcano in Yellowstone will erupt. Today magma is accumulating and tremors can be felt on the ground at Yellowstone. This serves as a constant reminder that this supervolcano could go off at any time.

 

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