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NOTE: Portions of this writing were taken directly from Yellowstone's Norris Geyser Basin Trail Guide.
Located 26 miles south of the Yellowstone's North Entrance, Yellowstone's Norris Geyser Basin Trail is the hottest and most dynamic hydrothermal area in the Park. "Many hot springs and fumaroles here have temperatures above the boiling point (199 degrees Fahrenheit). Its features change daily because of water fluctuations and seismic activity."
"Earthquakes occur frequently due to the intersection of three major faults beneath the Norris area. These faults combine with the basin's primary rock type (welded tuff) to create a setting for dynamic and even explosive change"
Translation, the trail is sitting on a ticking time bomb!
"Each year at Norris new hot springs and geysers appear; others become dormant. Geographic events or processes cause many of these changes. Even small earthquakes can trigger changes in hydrothermal behavior. Some changes briefly alter a feature's activity; others last longer."
"Norris's features provide environments with a wide range of physical and chemical attributes. For example, thermopiles (heat-loving micro-organisms) thrive in acidic features and their overflow channels. Other features in Norris are alkaline and support different thermopiles. Look for bright green Cyanidium in acidic springs and orange cyanobacteria in alkaline waters."
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