Day 9: Friday, August 9, 2002
Emerald Pool in the Black Sand Basin
Palette Spring, Mammoth Hot Springs
Hot water from the earth's core leaks up to the surface and carries dissolved calcium and bicarbonate up to the springs where pressure lessens. Carbon dioxide then escapes as gas and the carbonate combines with calcium to precipitate as travertine, the type of rock you see to the left.
The warm colors are cyanobacteria that grow in the warm water that stream down the spring.
This was the most disappointing experience for us because when I was here ten years ago with my family, Minerva Terrace was the most beautiful attraction in the Mammoth Hot Springs area. I had made Johannes save all his film for this formation, but when we got there, we found out that the terrace had dried up at the beginning of 2002. Since these springs were formed from thermal hot spots beneath the earth's crust that allowed mineral-infused hot water to rise to the surface, as the continental plates migrated (think "plate tectonics," third grade), springs would eventually lose their thermal source and dry up.
Last view of Minerva....
Coming here really drove home the point for us that we had to experience life in the now.
Appreciate beauty when you can because there's no guarantee it's going to be there when you come back.
On the Porcelain Basin Trail
Johannes plays majorette with the tripod.
Top of Canary Spring
With Minerva gone, Canary Spring and Main Terrace are now in contention for the title of "most beautiful terrace."
I wonder which spring will be this area's highlight ten years from now.
Because we splurged on the ice cream, we had to go with the super budget hotel again...