The Thermal Areas of Yellowstone
Are we still on planet Earth?

More pictures of the geyser basin. In the background is the Old Faithful Lodge, which is the largest log structure in the world, unless a larger one has been built since my visit.
A series of small geysers which have built themselves up into the semblance of a row of small volcanos. The steam rising from their tops, adds to the illusion. 
One of the thermal pools, which seems to have fallen on hard times. The area is changing all of the time. many of the geysers or pools may become inactive or dry out, while others will increase in activity, or in size. Sometimes geysers will degenerate into pools, or pools might rise up and become geysers.
A rather small fissure which seems to have built itself a rather large enclosure. This pool is still young and shallow, the water being quite cool towards the edges. 
A planked walkway, bearing a striking resemblance to a fishing dock, leads out to a particularly large thermal pool. 
Geysers, and thermal pools are both formed by the same forces, get their energy from the same source, and operate in a similar fashion. The water seeps into crevices from the water table, or percolation, and is heated in the rocky chambers far below ground. It can rise to the surface slowly and form pools, or it can rise explosively because of constrictions or the presence of sealed chambers below ground. 
The geysers and pools in a given formation are generally all part of a single system, and are thus, all interrelated. Often a series of geysers will erupt in tandem, or the level of a thermal pool will rise or lower just before or after an eruption. The entire area is a large caldera, where molten rock is thought to come to within thirty miles of the surface. This common energy source is what drives all of the thermal features of the park.
Small, hot, and exuding a slight plume of steam, this little steam vent bides it's time. As in all thermal areas, the soil is thin and sterile. 
Just outside of the geyser basin, a squirrel looks across an alien landscape. The trees ringing the edge of these thermal areas seem like bits of Earth transplanted to the edge of another planet. 
Old Faithful, during a quiet moment.
The edge of the forest.
This magnificent pool is large enough to swallow a car. 
A crevasse at the boundary between the thermal area and the pine forest which is common to the area. 
This seems less a hot pool, and more a simple break in the crust that overlays the thermal area. It is very young, and in, perhaps a couple of thousand years, it may well have formed itself into a pool of respectable size, and depth. 
A mud pot, sort of a dirty thermal pool. 
The Firehole River, this time meandering through one of the geyser basins. It's plenty obvious here, how this river got it's name.
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