Geology of Yellowstone
It is believed that Native Americans inhabited the lands of what is now Yellowstone National Park for more than 11,000 years, until approximately 200 years ago, when European settlers began to drive many of them from their homelands. In 1872 Yellowstone was declared the world’s first national park as a way to preserve and protect the land for the “benefit and enjoyment of future generations.” (National Park Service) Yellowstone National Park covers a vast area in the Northwestern United States. Its landscape is very complex and ever changing thanks to the many geological forces that are found there. In fact, the unique geological features such as the geysers, hot springs, steam vents, among many others, are what lead to Yellowstone being named a national park. The remainder of this paper will describe Yellowstone in more detail, and cover its size, location, altitude, climate, distinctive features, geologic history, and the positive and negative effects of human involvement.
Size, Location, Altitude, Land Attributes, and Climate Yellowstone National Park is larger than the states of Rhode Island and Delaware combined. It covers 3,472 square miles, contains more than 2.2 million acres, and spans three states, with 96% of the park being located in Wyoming, 3% in Montana, and 1% in Idaho. Yellowstone’s highest point, located at Eagle Peak, is 11,358 feet above sea level, and its lowest point, Reese Creek, is 5,282 feet. The park is composed of nearly 80% coniferous forest, 15% grassland, and 5% is covered by water. It is home to approximately 67 species of mammals, including grizzly and black bears, bison, and the endangered gray wolf. Temperatures range from an average of 9º Fahrenheit in January, to 80º Fahrenheit in July. Precipitation ranges from 10 inches in the northern to 80 inches in the southern regions of the park. (National Park Service)
Geologic History, Formation, and Features
Yellowstone National Park is one of the most
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