Thursday, June 12, 2008

Mammoth Hot Springs - Yellowstone

Sky Watch Friday

An Amazing Occurrence
A hole in the clouds lets the Sun shine through.

We were in the northern part of Yellowstone, photographing the Terraces, on a severely cloudy day. The photo shoot was going OK and we were finding some things to photograph. (Note: Any day out photographing Nature is a great day. Sun – Night – Cloudy – Rain – etc). We were on top of the Terraces when suddenly the Sun found a hole or break in the clouds and voila - there was Mammoth Hot Springs bathed in sunlight below us. The mountains in the background were these indescribable shades of blue. The red barracks of old Ft. Yellowstone on the right just lit up. The sky can do some amazing things. Needless to say, Martha and I were rushing around photographing everything in sight. We drove down to the bottom of the Springs Area and photographed the Terraces. (We will do Yellowstone in a few weeks as part of the Alaska Sunday series).


Mammoth Hot Springs, Yellowstone

(Click on the photo for best viewing)


Here’s a Tip for Artists

If you are a landscape artist and especially if you use watercolors, buy every shade of blue from every manufacturer that is available to you. Each manufacturer has proprietary formulations for their pigments and final colors. You can’t take one blue and mix it with other colors to produce a certain blue without it becoming muddy in many cases. Sky colors tend to be pure. Look at the above photo and see how many shades of blue (and different blues) that you can see. Notice the midrange range of hills, which are really browns, should be painted with a mix of blues and ochers. If you do landscapes with receding mountain ranges, the same is true. If you are having trouble with desert landscapes, try this trick with yellow ocher also.


In the northwest corner of the park there is a large hot spring complex near Fort Yellowstone called Mammoth Hot Springs. Mammoth is a large hill of travertine that has been created over thousands of years as hot water from the spring cooled and deposited calcium carbonate (over 2 tons of calcium carbonate flows into Mammoth each day in a solution). Although these springs lie outside the caldera boundary, their energy has been attributed to the same magmatic system that fuels other Yellowstone geothermal areas.

The hot water that feeds Mammoth comes from Norris Geyser Basin after traveling underground via a fault line that runs through limestone and roughly with the Norris to Mammoth road (the limestone is the source of the calcium carbonate). Shallow circulation along this corridor allows Norris' super-heated water to cool somewhat before surfacing at Mammoth, generally at about 170° F (~77° C). Algae living in the warm pools have tinted those travertine shades of brown, orange, red and green.

Thermal activity here is extensive both over time and distance. Terrace Mountain at Mammoth Hot Springs is the largest known carbonate-depositing spring in the world. The most famous feature at the springs is the Minerva Terrace, a series of travertine terraces. The terraces have been deposited by the spring over many years, but due to recent minor earthquake activity, the spring vent has shifted, rendering the terraces dry.

The Mammoth Terraces extend all the way from the hillside, across the Parade Ground, and down to Boiling River. The Mammoth Hotel, as well as all of Fort Yellowstone, is built upon an old terrace formation known as Hotel Terrace. There was some concern when construction began in 1891 on the Fort site that the hollow ground would not support the weight of the buildings. Several large sink holes (fenced off) can be seen out on the Parade Ground. This area has been thermally active for several thousand years.

The Mammoth area exhibits much evidence of glacial activity from the Pinedale Glaciation. The summit of Terrace Mountain is covered with glacial till, thereby dating the travertine formation there to earlier than the end of the Pinedale Glaciation. Several thermal kames, including Capitol Hill and Dude Hill, are major features of the Mammoth Village area. Ice-marginal stream beds are in evidence in the small, narrow valleys where Floating Island Lake and Phantom Lake are found. In Gardner Canyon, one can see the old, sorted gravel bed of the Gardner River covered by unsorted glacial till.

I hope you have enjoyed Mammoth Hot Springs and found some use of the Artist’s Tip. Leave a comment if you have enjoyed the post today.

To participate in Sky Watch Friday visit Wiggers World.

Troy and Martha

55 comments:

evlahos said...

this is a blog where i can find wonderful shots and interesting info. very beautiful swf

Daryl said...

So true about the blues ... and if you are trying to capture a specific look/shade ... the colors change as the angle of the sun changes.. I call it the color of light, its just one of the reasons I stopped painting and starting using a camera

:-Daryl

Mrs. Darcy said...

How very beautiful!!

Abraham Lincoln said...

A nice photograph. I like the contrasts a lot.

me ann my camera said...

What soft, beautiful, inviting colour your photo holds, as an invitation to view. It has a very relaxing quality about it. Lovely.

Ann at
varying seasons

SandyCarlson said...

I love such suntraps. Used to see them all the time in Ireland. It's as if the heavens were whispering a special secret to the earth.

marcia said...

ahhh I have fun memories of there from our family trip a few years ago

Old Wom Tigley said...

Thank you for joining in with Sky Watch this week and helping to make it special.

Tom :O)

As Arnie says... I will be back.. ha!

fishing guy said...

Troy: You certainly captured the majesty of the Rockies.

Petunia said...

Nice shot! I ahve to return to read all the words. I always enjoy all the stuff you are posting!
Petunia's SWF

Michele (Rocky Mtn.Girl) said...

This is a beautiful shot.. another one of my favorites from your collection.
Mountain Retreat

luiz ramos said...

Great colors, views and info.
By text, I was there too!!

Sandpiper said...

Beautiful scene, Troy and Martha. Outstanding, as always!

ArneA said...

Beautiful photo, but most thanks for the tip.
Copied and printed for my studio wall

Anemone said...

Very VERY nice picture, and a very nice text as well.

Nice weekend to you, from Anne in the middle of Norway.

RuneE said...

I enjoyed both pictures and information - they are always up near the top. I'll look forward to more about Yellowstone.

Max-e said...

Hi Troy and Martha, interesting post and a stunning photo. You really do get around

For The People said...

Awesome!

Voz do meu Coração said...

Excellent photo with a very beautiful sky and colors expetaculares, congratulations.

bobbie said...

Yours are always great photos. A beautiful one today.

***Fotografia e Luz*** said...

Magnificent photo with color and a very beautiful sky

imac said...

Great photos and great tips.



visit my colours of Nature.

Elisabeth said...

Marvelous! Very nice pictures!

Pretty Life Online said...

great catch for SWF! the twinkling sky seemed to throbs off to one body, timed for a common pulse. Mine's up too hope you can drop by.

Champ Townboy said...

Awesome shot!!

Carletta said...

Oh so beautiful landscape - but then I've come to expect nothing less when I visit here!

Ida said...

BEAUTIFUL view! :)
Lovely colours.

BeachysCapeCodCupboard said...

Stunning photograph! And I LOVE your watercolor tip ~ I am a trained watercolorist, and my art professor always made us buy MANY different tubes of blues for our palettes (more so than any other color)!

ellen b said...

Such a beautiful spot and beautiful shot you got. The information along with it was very interesting, too.

Sherry said...

This is really a wonderful shot. There are so many shades and layers of colors and light, it's just beautiful!

Rose said...

That is a fabulous picture!

Shellmo said...

That photo would make a wonderful painting!

esnorway said...

nice pic

Pat - An Arkansas Stamper said...

Yes, yes! I enjoyed the post today -- very much! What more could one ask? A lovely photograph with the story of its making as part of the narrative, artist's tips (one of you has to be an artist, as well as a photographer), and lots of extremely interesting information about that particular area of Yellowstone. What's not to love?!!

The Texican said...

Good one.

Kathiesbirds said...

Troy, I love Yellowstone! Gus and I went there for our 10th anniversary. We spent one night in a cabin at Mammoth. Thanks for the tip on the paints. I had observed this happening with my arcylics but didn't know why. Thanks to you, now I do! great photo and great info! Oh, by the way, I got my nighthawk this morning! I will post it later tonight!

Lilli & Nevada said...

Very nice

B. Roan said...

It's really nice to find a magnificent shot and great information. B.Roan

granmal said...

Wow, this is a beautiful photo! I've never been to Yellowstone - I can just imagine your taking a lot of pictures.

Your EG Tour Guide said...

There really are an amazing number of blues in your photo.

I bet you took quite a few photos of this area to take home with you. It must have been difficult to leave.

Louis la Vache said...

As always, interesting commentary combined with fabulous photos!

"Louis", an early riser, caught San Francisco waking up. Please pardon the tripodless camera shake....

Lana G! said...

Beautiful!

Anne-Berit said...

Great photo and interresting information!

Chuck Pefley said...

Great and detailed information to accompany a lovely photo!

Suzanne said...

I love to see photos of Yellowstone, I am dreaming of visiting this place one day. Happy SWF.

naturglede said...

Nice photo. I must come back later and read it all. It will take time, because I am not so good in english. Have a nice day!

pts said...

so beautiful!

kjpweb said...

Beautiful landscape and Skywatch image with rich colors! Well done!
Cheers, Klaus

Gary said...

Great information and fantastic shot - nature served up a treat for you (and us) there.

Gary
Bodge's Bulletin

John said...

Great shot and informative post as always.

Kathiesbirds said...

Nighthawk photos are posted @ Sycamore Canyon! Come and see!

Gretchen said...

Absolutely gorgeous!

raf said...

As always, your photos are just like standing there in person at that moment, Troy! Your commentary is tutorial, interesting and entertaining - all at once!Thanks again.

Stacey Huston said...

Hey, that looks like my backyard!! Great and informative post.. I love the colors of nature.

Andrea said...

Beautiful shot and interesting post.