Friday mystery photo

Grand Prismatic Spring, Yellowstone National Park

Alaskan Dude, flickr

This photo photo was taken at Grand Prismatic Spring, Yellowstone National Park.

Yellowstone National Park is located primarily in the state of Wyoming, although it also extends into Montana and Idaho. It was established by Congress and signed into law by President Ulysses S. Grant on March 1, 1872. 

Yellowstone, widely held to be the first national park in the world, is known for its wildlife and its many geothermal features, especially Old Faithful Geyser, one of the most popular features in the park. The park is the centerpiece of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, the largest remaining nearly-intact ecosystem in the Earth's northern temperate zone.

Photo: Redeo, flickr

Native Americans have lived in the Yellowstone region for at least 11,000 years, and the region was bypassed during the Lewis and Clark Expedition in the early 19th century. Hundreds of structures have been built and are protected for their architectural and historical significance, and researchers have examined more than 1,000 archaeological sites.

Photo: jeffgunn, flickr

Yellowstone National Park spans an area of 3,468.4 square miles and encompasses lakes, canyons, rivers and mountain ranges. Yellowstone Lake is one of the largest high-altitude lakes in North America and is centered over the Yellowstone Caldera, the largest supervolcano on the continent. The caldera is considered an active volcano. It has erupted with tremendous force several times in the last two million years. Half of the world's geothermal features are in Yellowstone, fueled by this ongoing volcanism. 

Hundreds of species of mammals, birds, fish and reptiles call Yellowstone home, including several that are either endangered or threatened. Yellowstone Park is the largest and most famous megafauna location in the Continental U.S. Grizzly bears, wolves and free-ranging herds of bison and elk live in the park. The Yellowstone Park bison herd is the oldest and largest public bison herd in the United States. 

Yellowstone bison. Photo: Phil Horton, flickr

Forest fires occur in the park each year; in the large forest fires of 1988, nearly one third of the park was burnt.

Mammoth Hot Spring Terraces. Photo: InSapphoWeTrust, flickr

Yellowstone boasts numerous recreational opportunities, including hiking, camping, boating, fishing and sightseeing.