Yellowstone National Park contains more than 75% of the world’s geysers, along with fascinating and colorful mud pots, hot springs and fumeroles, all within seven major basin areas.
Types of Geothermal Features
Geysers: The pressure reaches a certain point at which water and steam must release, often spraying into the sky at unimaginable heights. Popular park geysers:
- Old Faithful Geyser: Erupts with steam and water shooting 184 feet into the sky.
- Steamboat Geyser: Steamboat Geyser ejects water in bursts of 10 to 40 feet high.
- Great Fountain Geyser: The only geyser you can view from your car.
- Lone Star Geyser: Hike to this geyser off the beaten path.
Hot Springs: Heated water creates complex circulation within pools, creating the most colorful features in the park. Popular Hot Springs:
- Mammoth Hot Springs Terrace: A living sculpture is formed by the flowing waters.
- Boiling River: One of the few places in Yellowstone where you can swim.
- Grand Prismatic Spring: The largest hot spring in the US is at a depth of about 160 feet, discharging 560 gallons of water each minute.
Fumeroles/Steam Vents: When a hot spring has more heat than water, the water evaporates before reaching the surface, creating a steam vent or fumerole. Fumeroles in Yellowstone:
- Black Growler: This consistent steam vent averages temps of 199 to 280 degrees F.
Terraces: A landscape that resembles a cave turned inside out. Terraces in Yellowstone:
- Minerva Terraces: A wide range of bright colors.
- Mammoth Hot Springs Terrace: One of the most popular features in the park.
Yellowstone National Park geothermal features are popular the world over for their colorful mud pots, their spouting geysers and fascinating hot springs. Most Yellowstone Park geothermal features are located in the Geyser Basins such as:
- Norris Geyser Basin
- Black Sand Basin
- Lower Geyser Basin
- Midway Geyser Basin
- Upper Geyser Basin
- Monument Geyser Basin
- West Thumb Geyser Basin
Stay on the boardwalks when visiting the geothermal features. If you break through the thin crust, you risk injury and can disturb the fine ecological balance in the park.