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The Yellowstone National Park

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Yellowstone National Park is the oldest and most likely one of the mostrecognized national parks in the United States. Yellowstone stretches over threestates (Wyoming, Montana and Idaho) and has the highest concentration ofhydrothermal features (geysers, hot springs, mud pots etc.) in the world (Pletcher,“Yellowstone National Park”, 2017).

On March 1st 1872 Yellowstone national parkwas established. President Ulysses S. Grant signed the Yellowstone National ParkProtection Act in to law creating the world’s first national park. The Grand TetonNational Park is to the south of Yellowstone and the John D. Rockefeller parkwayconnects these to parks together (Pletcher, “Yellowstone National Park”, 2017).

Approximately 96 percent of the land area of Yellowstone National Park islocated within the state of Wyoming. Another three percent is within Montana, withthe remaining one percent in Idaho. The park is 63 miles (101 km) north to south,and 54 miles (87 km) west to east by air. Yellowstone is 2,219,789 acres(898,317 ha; 3,468.420 sq mi) in area, larger than the states of RhodeIsland or Delaware. Rivers and lakes cover five percent of the land area, with thelargest water body being Yellowstone Lake at 87,040 acres (35,220 ha;136.00 sq mi). Yellowstone Lake is up to 400 feet (120 m) deep and has 110 miles(180 km) of shoreline. At an elevation of 7,733 feet (2,357 m) above sea level,Yellowstone Lake is the largest high altitude lake in North America. Forestscomprise 80 percent of the land area of the park; most of the rest is grassland.(“Yellowstone State Park”, 2017)Yellowstone National Park’s landscape has beenand is being created by various geological processes. Some of the Earth’s most activevolcanic, hydrothermal (water + heat), and earthquake systems make this nationalpark a priceless treasure. In fact, Yellowstone was established as the world’s firstnational park primarily because of its extraordinary geysers, hot springs, mud potsand steam vents, as well as other wonders such as the Grand Canyon of theYellowstone River.

Located around some of the hot springs in Yellowstone NationalPark, the soil is very fine, soft and has a unique rippled texture that reminds him of abrain, said James Meadow, recipient of the Boyd Evison Graduate Fellowship. Thesoil houses microorganisms, but mostly consists of the glassy dead bodies ofdiatoms. Diatoms are microscopic algae that turn light into energy. Their cell wallsare made of silica. (“Study of Yellowstone soils could have application for minecleanup”) The Yellowstone River Watershed is a river basin located in NorthDakota, Wyoming, and Montana. The Yellowstone Basin Watershed contains asystem of rivers, including the Yellowstone River, and four tributary basins: the Clarks Fork Yellowstone, Wind River and Bighorn River, Tongue River,andPowder River.

These rivers form tributaries to the Missouri River. Themainstem of the Yellowstone River is more than 700 miles (1,100 km) long. At theheadwaters, elevations exceed 12,800 feet (3,900 m) above sea level and descendsto 1,850 feet (560 m) at the confluence with the Missouri River in North Dakota. Thewatershed spans 34,167 square miles.[5]The area contains many lakes,including Yellowstone Lake. There are no storage dams located on the mainstem ofthe Yellowstone River. However, the watershed contains five major reservoirs: BullLake, Boyson, Buffalo, Bighorn, Tongue River, and Lake De Smet reservoirs.(“Yellowstone River”, 2017) National Park is the oldest and most likely one of the mostrecognized national parks in the United States. Yellowstone stretches over threestates (Wyoming, Montana and Idaho) and has the highest concentration ofhydrothermal features (geysers, hot springs, mud pots etc.) in the world (Pletcher,“Yellowstone National Park”, 2017).

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