In 1872, President Ulysses S. Grant signed into law the Yellowstone National Park Protection Act. With that, over 2 million acres of pure mountain wilderness, breathtaking geysers, and serene landscapes exhuming eye-catching vibrance. It has its place in history as the world’s first national park. Nature has dictated its ways. At Yellowstone National Park, it is possible to witness just how powerful mother-nature can express herself. From the burning hot jets of air forcing their way out through cracks from within the bowels of the earth, to the stunningly and colorfully highlighted features, Yellowstone National Park is not short of sights to behold.
Here are five things you probably didn’t know about Yellowstone National Park:
1. 11,000 years’ worth of natural history
John Colter, a decorated veteran of the Lewis & Clark expedition, was the first American to come by this incredible place. He baffled people when he returned from the wilderness with seemingly superstitious tales of the area’s spectacular geothermic activity. With the earliest intact archaeological deposits discovered at the shore of Yellowstone Lake, this park boasts of human history dating back anything over 11,000 years. Plenty of time for some substantial history to write itself.
2. Home to half of the entire world’s geothermal features
The world is a big place. It is, therefore, worth noting that half of the world’s geothermal features all lie within the borders of Yellowstone National Park. Unique features characterizing the different attraction points of the park can be marveled upon as they picturesquely pose on the horizon.
Colorfully appealing features stunningly highlight Yellowstone National Park. This is all thanks to some tiny microorganisms called thermophiles (translated to heat-loving). The Park is home to over an astonishing 10,000 hydrothermal features. Geysers, fumaroles, hot springs, mud pots, and travertine terraces are some spots that make up these impressive features.
3. An active volcano lies beneath
Just about 2.1 million years ago, an eruption sent clouds of ash spewing an area so large it covered a massive 5,790 square mile. This eruption would go down as the first Yellowstone volcanic eruption. It would go on to considerably surpass the 240 cubic miles of magma mark used to define a supervolcano, making it one itself. It’s been an unassailable 70,000 years and counting since Yellowstone experienced lava flow. This has, however, not stopped the commendable efforts put in place by the park, with the help of the U.S Geological Survey and the University of Utah. The Yellowstone Volcano Observatory was established in 2001 to keep tabs on any volcanic or seismic activity within and around the area.
4. Home of Old Faithful
A noticeable feature among the impressive features available at the park would be the geysers. Yellowstone boasts of several geysers like nowhere else on earth. Old Faithful is one of them. Over the years, this geyser has slowed continuously down, and it is taking longer between one eruption to the next than it took before. It is for this reason that its name seemed to have betrayed its purpose, as it was seen to be not so faithful in its eruptions. With up to 17 eruptions a day, however, Old Faithful still erupts with impressive frequency compared to other geysers of its age.
5. Bison on the road.
On most roads in the U.S, motorists are often to blame for those annoying and time-consuming traffic jams that keep a considerable number of Americans on the road longer than they need to be. Well, at least not a herd of bison going about their business or just trying to cross the road. Nothing around Yellowstone. The Park and its environs are littered with herds of majestic bison native to the area, probably since they first existed there. Yellowstone is, in fact, the only place in the country where bison have existed continuously since prehistoric times. So, if you are planning on driving through Yellowstone, your pace might have to be dictated by a herd of bison equally putting the road to use as rightful residents of the area.
The world’s first National Park has stood the ruthless test of time. First introduced to the people of America in 1872, Yellowstone National Park has been home to spectacular and marvelous geothermal features. It promises to be just as much of a magnificent place tomorrow as it has been today and had been years before.