Archive for August 20th, 2010

Finishing our Tour of Yellowstone

August 20th, 2010

After hiking through the Tetons, we continued our tour of Yellowstone by visiting a number of places in the eastern and northern portions of the park. We visited Signal Mountain Summit, which is a great overlook of the glacial outwash plain due to the glaciation of Yellowstone. (However, I was just as fascinated by the little black bear that we saw on the drive up to the summit.) We also stopped at Artist Point, south of Canyon Village. (We actually stayed the night in Canyon Village’s cabins.)

Then, our journey took us to Norris Geyser Basin, Obsidian Cliff, Sheepeater Cliff, and the Mammoth Hot Spring Terraces. All I can really say is “Wow”!!

Above is a scenic view of one section of Norris Geyser Basin, which had some of the most interesting thermal activity in the park.

Above is a scenic view of one section of Norris Geyser Basin, which had some of the most interesting thermal activity in the park.

Take a look at Sheepeater Cliff, which is composed of basalts that exhibit columnar jointing.  Sheepeater Cliff is a result of the bimodal volcanism that was present in Yellowstone.

Take a look at Sheepeater Cliff, which is composed of basalts that exhibit columnar jointing. Sheepeater Cliff is a result of the bimodal volcanism that was present in Yellowstone.

Mammoth Springs provided some wonderful exposures of travertine terraces, several of which were very active.

Mammoth Springs provided some wonderful exposures of travertine terraces, several of which were very active.

Of course, along our journey we made some friends, such as this moose grazing along the river bank.  It was amazing how one creature could tie up so much traffic!!

Of course, along our journey we made some friends, such as this moose grazing along the river bank. It was amazing how one creature could tie up so much traffic!!

Yet another friend...a very, very large bison.

Yet another friend...a very, very large bison.

The day ended with a trip to the Gardner River.  The picture above shows a small stream of thermally-influenced water flowing into the Gardner River.  Along the river bank, temperatures are easily over 100-110 degrees F, and thus many people enjoy one of nature's very own hot tubs.  But, if you walk just a few feet out into the main portion of the Gardner, the water is ice cold.

The day ended with a trip to the Gardner River. The picture above shows a small stream of thermally-influenced water flowing into the Gardner River. Along the river bank, temperatures are easily over 100-110 degrees F, and thus many people enjoy one of nature's very own hot tubs. But, if you walk just a few feet out into the main portion of the Gardner, the water is ice cold.

Hiking in the Tetons

August 20th, 2010

Due to such great weather, the group decided to go for a 9.6 mile hike (4.8 miles up and up and up and then back down again). We hiked the Lupine Meadows Trail NNW of Moose, Wyoming — in Grand Teton National Park. This specific trail takes you to Amphitheater Lake, which is nestled in between Grand Teton and Middle Teton. It was an absolute fantastic hike, with several switchbacks along the way.

At the very top of our hike, we came upon Amphitheater Lake, which is located at 9,698 feet above sea level.  Because I'm a big fan of oxygen, I noticed that I was not quite in Ohio any more.  The hike provided us with a 2,960 foot elevation gain above the valley; therefore, there were spectacular views!!

At the very top of our hike, we came upon Amphitheater Lake, which is located at 9,698 feet above sea level. Because I'm a big fan of oxygen, I noticed that I was not quite in Ohio any more. The hike provided us with a 2,960 foot elevation gain above the valley; therefore, there were spectacular views!!

From Bozeman to Yellowstone to Jackson Hole

August 20th, 2010

The Teaching in the Field Workshop left Bozeman for a whirlwind tour of Yellowstone and the Tetons. Our goal was to actually think about teaching in the field — while in the field!! Some of us concentrated on how we could incorporate our surroundings (particularly Yellowstone) in modules for specific courses that we teach; others of us were more focused on devising a department field trip. I could not think of better surroundings. The field trip leader was Dave Mogk, petrologist at Montana State University, who has done much research in the area.

On the first leg of our journey from Bozeman to West Yellowstone, we stopped at a talc mine just south of Ennis, Montana. The talc mine is within the Montana metasedimentary terrane in a marble-hosted deposit. Nearby, we also looked at algomin-type banded iron formation exposures that contained small isoclinal folds. Afterwards, we headed toward Hebgen Lake to view the site of the 1959 earthquake that registered 7.5 on the Richter Scale and then onward to West Yellowstone.

When in Yellowstone, we were able to visit a number of locations, but we only concentrated on the western and southern portions of the park. Never being to Yellowstone before, I was able to visit Fountain Paint Pot in the Lower Geyser Basin and Grand Prismatic Spring, before driving south toward Grand Teton National Park. Along the way, Dave introduced us to the regional geology, discussing such topics as the Huckleberry Ridge, Mesa Falls, and Lava Creek eruptive events, the Absaroka volcanics, the thermal anomaly vs mantle plume argument, and the structural history of the area.

Above is a photo of Spasm Geyser, located in the Lower Geyser Basin.

Above is a photo of Spasm Geyser, located in the Lower Geyser Basin.

The colors of Yellowstone's Grand Prismatic Spring were incredibly beautiful.

The colors of Yellowstone's Grand Prismatic Spring were incredibly beautiful.