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National Park - Heart of the Caldera
of sign - north of Canyon Village before Dunraven Pass in Yellowstone National Park
taken June 2008
view of sign
view of sign
Heart of the Caldera
eastern ridgeline is the rim of a huge crater. Here a volcanic eruption
blew cubic miles of glassy material into the atmosphere -
carried as far as Texas and California - then the crust collapsed, forming a
caldera or basin. Through a catastrophe
years ago seems unimaginably remote, subsurface activity has been
ongoing. Bare patches in the forest reveal Washburn
Springs, where superheated water boils up along caldera fracture lines.
volcano's energy source lies beneath your feet, centered only ten miles to
the southeast. From the summit of Purple Mountain
Mount Washburn you can see not only the extent of the caldera but also
mysterious bulges in the relatively level plateau. The
twin magma chambers that fired the eruption are now upwarping or doming,
forecasting future volcanism.
gases and molten rock erupted through fractures above the magma
The area above the blown-out part of the magma chambers collapsed to
form a vast chamber.
There are no trails to Washburn Hot Springs. The ground there
is unstable - geologists have fallen through the crust and
burns. Sulfuric acid in the area can burn through clothing.
on the sign
to the text there is an inset map of the park noting where the sign is.
There is a graphical description of the formation of
caldera. The is also a picture of the skyline noting the location of
the Absaroka Mountains, Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone,
Hot Springs, the caldera boundary, Elephant Mountain, Mt. Sheridan, and the
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