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1 Park 5 Unique Geothermal Features To Know Before You Go

Yellowstone is something of a wonder and with each passing year it continues to unveil its hidden mysteries to those which choose to visit. But far beyond the stories of bears which inspired the Yogi cartoons, Old Faithful which has been erupting pretty much on a schedule for years and years and tales of bison causing some of the most notable traffic jams at a National park, there is a hidden world of wonder which rests just below the thin crust of earth scattered throughout the park.

The park is considered to be a “restless giant”, a super volcano just waiting to come back to life and share its wrath. But until that happens it shares with us the wonders that are its geothermal features and activities through 5 unique types of features which can be found throughout the park.

To many who visit these will simply be beautiful images, spectacular eruptions and things which will leave them questioning. But to those who choose to dive beneath the surface before visiting these 5 unique features will take on a new meaning before crossing through the entrance of the most well known park.

Hot Springs

These aren’t your soaking kind of springs, these are very different!!

The most common hydrothermal feature in the park some of the most noted photos you find on the internet are these. They range in color and size but one thing remains common, these are created by water seeping underground and heated by deeply imbedded magma. The water then rises to the surface and creates steam rising from ground, bubbles in near clear pools and some of the most intriguing sites visually.

These are the most free of the features of the park often changing bounds, cooling or heating without warning and creating some of the most interesting and dangerous features which look so enticing and welcoming.


Old Faithful set the bar high for geysers. These features are known for their steaming hot water being released into the air and creating quite the spectacle.

These are created by pressure built below the surface by liquid heated well beyond the boiling point. It is then passed through vents in the crust which cause epic eruptions. Beautiful and only sometimes predictable these sleeping giants could remain dormant for years before blasting a pillar of boiling liquid and steam into the air without warning.


These might look like some of the features with the least payoff but they are also the most dangerous for the sheer heat they exude. They hiss, they howl and they whistle and you often can find them in an area with other features. This can make them harder to differentiate from the feature which they associate with but they are indeed their own unique features all their own.

A fumerole is created when the small amount of water flashes into steam before it reaches the surface it is restricted there and creates limited amount of area for which it can escape. This creates great pressure and heat from the area of escape


When you have a hot spring which cannot access much actual water, an acidic hot spring forms forcing volcanic gases and microorganisms to decompose the surrounding rock into mud and clay.

The visual of these is something interesting to say the least as bubbles of heat press through the mud and create a look of boiling mud bubbles pressing to the surface and popping to release gasses. Unlike the hot springs where it is able to pass through air bubbles through the loose construct of the water and quickly release, these bubble up with force and intention as they pass through the much thicker deposits around them.

Travertine Terraces

These features are unique and can be found predominantly in one location in the park,

Mammoth Hot Springs. Unlike other areas which have a thin surface layer and the features largely unseen these features are mountains all their own with cascading appearance coated in almost ice or chalk looking flow.

Some of the most rapidly changing formations in the park due to exposure and constant flow of minerals these shape the landscape in way no others can. Other geothermal features are found in this region to shape the flow of these terraces but the terraces themselves are something to look for in that they much like the features around them are very much alive and in constant growth.


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