February 16, 2013

WY: Mammoth Hot Springs Terraces

Palette Springs

After hours of bus ride, we finally entered Yellowstone National Park from its North Entrance and stopped near the Mammoth Hot Springs Terraces.

I always thought hikers with large multiday backpacks would form crowds in Yellowstone National Park.  It turned out everyone drove.  Each landmark has a set of hiking trails.  But, between sights, the distance is usually too far to cover by feet.  Near the park facilities at Mammoth Hot Spring, there was a large elk napping in the shades that captured all the passersby’ attention.  A park ranger made sure no one got too close to the animal. 

A Napping Elk

Mammoth Hot Springs Terraces consists of many terraces, each of which has its own name.  Within the short hour allotted by the tour, I only have enough time to run around the Lower Terraces.  If my map reading is correct, the one below is Palette Spring.  It has rocks in various shades of orange and grey and running hot spring. 

Palette Spring

Palette Spring

Water and Deposition

The flowing water carries calcium carbonate, just like what forms stalagmites and stalactites in limestone caves.  On terraces where spring water no longer run, it is not too difficult to imagine how the water once move, because the deposits retain the paths.

Minerva Terrace

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