Yellowstone National Park

Again the theatre of a major catastrophe, this time about 600.000 years in the past. A major magma chamber below this place, supplied by a volcanic hot spot beneath, had been filled over the last couple of hundred thousand years, creating incredible pressure within. Finally the high pressured gases and lava forced their way to the surface, creating an enormous eruption that affected half of North America with blasts, earthquakes and volcanic ashes. The volcanic crater, finally released from the pressure, broke in and formed an enormous caldera that covers half of today's Yellowstone Park.
And those immense volcanic powers are still active today, filling up the subterranean magma chamber again. At many places in the Park there is proof of those activities, acid smoke hissing out of fumaroles, bubbling hot springs and mud pots issuing sulphuric gases, trees that have died because the surface temperature has risen up to 100°C. And of course, the geysers. The Park is home to half of the world's geysers, from small bubbling whirlpools up to vehement water columns that issue thousands of litres of water at each eruption.

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The next major eruption of the Yellowstone hotspot is expected any day, following an interval pattern of approximately 600.000 years, and the impact to all of our lives cannot be imagined. A huge portion of North America would be destroyed, even more land heavily covered by volcanic ashes. The sun would be blacked out by volcanic dust hurled into the atmosphere, affecting climate changes and crop losses on the whole planet. An eruption of this size might have similar effects like the meteorite crash that caused the extinction of the dinosaurs.
But until then Yellowstone is a paradise for fauna and flora, inhabited by bears, elks, moose, deer and countless birds and smaller mammals, with streams are rich of fish. Thousands of visitors enter the park every day, to see the wonders of nature and to seek recreation.
Let's hope that we will be able to enjoy this place for a long time to come.

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The Wolves Refugee, West Yellowstone

Protected from hunters and human influences Yellowstone is the perfect environment for big predators as bears and wolves. And so several hundred bears are roaming the park, together with several wolf packs.

Living together with those wild, dangerous animals on a peaceful coexistence is not easy for the human visitors, especially with the bears, whom the human visitors tend to play down, thanks to the Teddy Bears that sat in our childhood beds. Real bears are dangerous, immensely strong animals with a superb olfactory sense and the instincts of a predator. So balancing the needs of wild animals and human visitors is a difficult act, performed every day by the park rangers.

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Grand Teton National Park

Is this the real thing? Is this the great eruption that has been predicted to be overdue? Will a pyroclastic stream come next rushing to us? Or is this just a very large wildfire? Well, either way it might be wise to get away from this place quickly.

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