Yellowstone National Park field sampling III

Third day of sampling at Yellowstone National Park 
- July 2013 -

Wednesday brought new experiences with hot springs. Eric took us to Sentinel Meadows, an area of the Lower Geyser Basin with several spectacular springs, including Flat Cone, Steep Cone, Mound Cone, and Queen’s Laundry springs. Steep cone is an approximately 15 feet tall cone formed by sinter deposited over thousands of years. Sinter is silica that precipitates out from the water as water is being ejected from the spring. I remembered to be quite careful to ensure that no spring water splashed on my glasses, as the resulting silica deposit would have been very difficult to remove without scratching them! At the top of the cone lies the spring, with a silica “crust” very similar in appearance to a pie crust, but instead of a yummy fruit filling, the spring’s continuously boiling snapped our imagination of pies and ice cones. After we sampled for gas, we moved on to Mound Cone. Mound Cone has a mild eruptive cycle!

The "pie crust" surrounding the spring at Steep Cone, Sentinel Meadows, Lower Geyser Basin, Yellowstone National Park. The pool is approx. 6 feet in diameter.

As the spring enters its eruptive cycle, the water level starts rising and floods the cone. The water level in the spring then drops down out of view, and the cone starts “thumping”, like a heartbeat, revealing how hollow the volume under the cone is! We didn’t know if the spring would suddenly start geysering, but Eric, enjoying our "newbie" reactions, was having a good time watching our facial expressions, as he knew the spring would not geyser but only mildly overflow.

The physics of what happened, if I understand it correctly, is quite interesting! The water rose because of the pressure at depth of water turning into steam due to the extreme heat. The pressure pushed the water column out of the pool (the overflow), which decreased the pressure, and most of the water column must have turned to vapor, which is why the water level dropped. The “thumping” we heard was certainly that phase change, as the steam must have been redirected in underground piping.

We next went to Queen’s Laundry spring, which was across a marsh and a river from Mound Cone. I got my hiking boots mighty dirty, and had to take them off the cross the river, which had a very pleasant temperature! Queen’s Laundry contains the oldest construction of Yellowstone! The ruins of a wooden “bathhouse”, built by the Hayden expedition in the 1870’s, still exist in the outwash of Queen’s Laundry. Queen’s laundry is a beautiful pool, with a deep blue color occasionally bubbling.

The bathhouse ruins by Queen's Laundry spring, Sentinel Meadows, Lower Geyser Basin, Yellowstone National Park

We then proceeded to our last stop of the day: Boulder spring. Boulder spring, tucked away behind a hill, was a few miles away, and the sun and the bugs were getting to me. Thankfully, I had plenty of water! Boulder spring is another of those intimidating pools. It is continuously geysering with water approaching boiling. The setting, typical for Yellowstone, was simply spectacular.

Boulder Spring, Lower Geyser Basin, Yellowstone National Park.

Previous Yellowstone Post                                                                        Next Yellowstone Post

Views: 584

Comment

You need to be a member of SAGANet to add comments!

Join SAGANet

Photos

  • Add Photos
  • View All

Blog Posts

Using tried and tested methods of constructing habitats from ethnobotanical and ethnozoological useful species for self sustainability on Mars

Posted by Andrew Planet on June 26, 2020 at 8:00am 0 Comments

To maximize crop yields on Mars it would be advantageous to do away with annuals and biannuals by engineering the latter into perennials as standard. Not only would that entail far less work to grow produce as the act of replanting is made obsolete, but per given cultivated area perennials bring forth more food and materials with less demand from the soil than the equivalent of annuals.

Imagine a superfood annual such as lentils engineered into a lentil tree for which there already…

Continue

Free astrobiology webinars for kids, summer 2020

Posted by Julia Brodsky on June 13, 2020 at 12:28pm 0 Comments

This summer, Art of Inquiry hosts free space exploration and astrobiology webinars for middle-school students and their families all over the world.



Here is a list of what was covered so far, as well as an updated schedule of webinars:

The search for life in the Universe, Dr. Alex Tsapin, JPL (retired)

The history of SETI, SETIQuest editor, Larry…

Continue

Radiolysis-powered life

Posted by Andrew Planet on June 11, 2020 at 9:56pm 7 Comments

This paper greatly extends the possibility of what a Goldilocks zone can be.  Its no longer the Goldilocks zone as a single expanse, its the Goldilocks zones for a particular area

https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/pdf/10.1098/rsif.2016.0459

¿Are the Venusian sulphuric acid clouds the by product of long dead anoxogenic photosynthetic organisms?

Posted by Andrew Planet on May 4, 2020 at 2:51pm 2 Comments

I just read the piece at the link below entitled "Study: Life might survive, and thrive, in a hydrogen world."

I'd been thinking on similar lines recently, on different atmospheres with early life, but I was considering anoxogenic bacteria whose byproduct is sulfur instead of molecular oxygen. ¿Had life evolved on Venus could its sulfuric clouds be the signature byproduct of such life with no branches ever evolving to produce the equivalent of Earth's Great…

Continue

Videos

  • Add Videos
  • View All

Forum

Have we been looking in the wrong time-frame? Requesting feedback on a recent paper.

Started by Christopher J Reiss in The Cutting-Edge of Astrobiology. Last reply by Greg Bowen Jun 30. 5 Replies

Let me first say Hi to everyone as a new member here!   I hope you are all safe, sound, and not too stir-crazy during this Pandemic.I recently stumbled upon a notion for SETI which seems so simple I…Continue

Ask your questions here!

Started by Gina Riggio in SAGANet Discussions. Last reply by JohnCDraper Jun 26. 122 Replies

If you are trying to ask a question live during Ask an Astrobiologist, please do so in the main chatroom at the bottom of the screen! You can also ask on twitter…Continue

Interactive Online Astrobiology for 10-12 yr olds

Started by Julia Brodsky in Education and Public Outreach Mar 9. 0 Replies

If your 10-12 yr old child is interested in space science, I would like to invite them to our courses. I am a former science teacher,  mom of three, and a former NASA astronaut instructor. I also…Continue

Tags: school, education, middle, astrobiology, STEM

zahra cell

Started by adam nurjaman in Education and Public Outreach Mar 7. 0 Replies

Hallo apa kabar ? semoga selalu baik2 saja zahra cell adalah blog yang…Continue

Tags: cell, zahra

© 2020   Blue Marble Space, a non-profit organization committed to science and science outreach.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service