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Yellowstone National Park - Day 3 - Mammoth






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We arrived at Mammoth right around lunchtime so the first thing we did was find some picnic tables and eat lunch. Then we moved on to the main terrace. We planned it so that we could start at the top of the main terrace, work our way down the boardwalk and find the cars at the bottom thanks to my husband and brother who ferried the cars from the top of the main terrace to the bottom and walked back up to the top (long walk uphill!). The first attraction along the boardwalk was Canary Springs, probably the most active of all the springs and terraces in Mammoth. It was pretty incredible. The rushing water and the travertine formations, not to mention the spectacular colors the minerals in the water formed.

For a Virtual Tour of Mammoth Hot Springs provided by the National Park Service.
Canary Springs, at the top of Mammoth's main terrace.

"So named for its bright yellow color, Canary owes its brilliance to sulfur dependent filamentous bacteria. The colors blend here in delicate tints on the creamy rock face." (taken from website)
canary spring, top cascade
Detail of water flowing at canary spring The next four pictures are closer details of the travertine formations and the hot running water at Canary Springs. The colors were so delicate. Hard to imagine that they're formed by minerals and bacteria isn't it?
According to the guidebook, Mammoth was the first settled area in Yellowstone Park. Most of the buildings there are part of historic Fort Yellowstone, built by the U.S. Army during its 30 year administration of the park. From 1886 until the creation of the National Park Service in 1916 the United States Army was responsible for the administration and management of the park. Canary Spring Detail
Detail - Canary Springs (from guidebook) The terraces and hot springs are an excellent example of the "Living geology" seen throughout the park. Nature carries on a great mining project in which hot water transports a form of limestone to the surface where it is deposited like so much sugar frosting to build and decorate the terraces. The hot springs and the terraces are constantly changeing. Springs which were active last year may be incactive or dormant this year. A new spring may break out at any time."
Isn't this an interesting picture? It looks like hot roiling water but in actuality it's a travertine formation and is as fragile as an eggshell. canary spring - detail
canary springs detail Closer detail of one of the newly forming terraces at Canary Springs.
Close up of a new spring forming at the top of the main terrace. I'm not positive, but I think this one is called Cupid Spring, but I might be wrong. The map isn't very detailed and there was no name sign in front of it. At the top of the overlook, unnamed spring
Top of Main Terrace At the top of the main terrace looking to the Northwest. How about those rain clouds, think we ought to have been better warned?
At Mammoth Overlook, looking Northeast down over Canary Spring into the valley, you can see the road leading from the Upper Terrace Drive towards the main parking areas and visitor center. You can tell by all the steam rising that it was getting chilly, the storm was definitely moving in! Overlook from Main Terrace
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