Fumaroles

fumarole

A fumarole vents hot water and shows traces of mineral deposits (the red and white colors).

I don’t remember the name of this fumarole, but I think it looks like the mouth of some bizarre prehistoric sea creature. I took several shots of it, some with the puffs of smoke at more or less interesting angles, and some shots with wispy smoke while in others it was heavy and cloudlike. The afternoon was overcast and raining slightly, so there wasn’t much opportunity to catch any highlights in the little puddles of water. The fumarole was too far away for my flash to be effective.

Yellowstone vista

One of the vistas from Yellowstone National Park, with fumaroles steaming away.

Yellowstone is filled with strange landscapes and features like this one. It really does look like something out of the geologic past, doesn’t it? I half expected dinosaurs to come sauntering (thundering?) out of the mist. It’s almost creepy in a way. I can’t imagine what the first people who saw this thought.

Today we understand a lot of the geological forces that shape the Earth’s landscape, but it’s hard not to look at this and come up with alternative explanations that have nothing to do with science.

As I recall, I hand-held the camera for some of these shots but used my tripod for others. The overcast sky has enough cloud detail to be interesting and create some reflections in the water. The “mist” at ground level is actually steam coming out of the ground at various fumaroles. This area had a walkway, too — which we were glad to stay on.

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