Yellowstone’s hydrothermal features would not exist without the underlying magma body that releases tremendous heat. They also depend on sources of water, such as from the mountains surrounding the Yellowstone Plateau. There, snow and rain slowly percolate through layers of permeable rock riddled with cracks. Some of this cold water meets hot brine directly heated by the shallow magma body. The water’s temperature rises well above the boiling point but the water remains in a liquid state due to the great pressure and weight of the overlying water. The result is superheated water with temperatures exceeding 400°F.
The superheated water is less dense than the colder, heavier water sinking around it. This creates convection currents that allow the lighter, more buoyant, superheated water to begin its journey back to the surface following the cracks and weak areas through rhyolitic lava flows. This upward path is the natural “plumbing” system of the park’s hydrothermal features.
As hot water travels through this rock, it dissolves some silica in the rhyolite. This silica can precipitate in the cracks, perhaps increasing the system’s ability to withstand the great pressure needed to produce a geyser.
At the surface, silica precipitates to form siliceous sinter, creating the scalloped edges of hot springs and the seemingly barren landscape of hydrothermal basins. When the silica rich water splashes out of a geyser, the siliceous sinter deposits are known as geyserite.
For more info on Yellowstone’s geothermal areas, please visit here….
Month: July 2014
Evening on the Snake River…
Indian paintbrush is a member of the figwort family, a perennial, having a cluster of stems that grow upward from the base, to 60 cm. tall. Indian Paintbrush is found throughout most of British Columbia. The interesting point is that, the top of the flower looks as if they have been dipped in bright red paint, hence the name Indian Paintbrush.
The Indian Paintbrush is a semi-parasitic plants. Indian Paintbrush plants are attached to the tubes of host plants by their roots. Indian paintbrushes suck their nutreints and even water from the host plants. The Indian paintbrush is propagated by dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets). The Indian paintbrush is grown from seed, when sown directly in fall.
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We spotted this little Mountain Goat on a little walk at Logan Pass, GNP….
BASIC FACTS ABOUT MOUNTAIN GOATS
Despite its name, the mountain goat is actually a member of the antelope family. It has a long face, long black horns and a short tail. Both males and females have beard-like hair on their chins. The mountain goat sports a coat of wooly, white fur that keeps it warm at high elevations. This coat has a double layer for added warmth during winter—the overcoat molts, or falls off, during summer time.
Known for their agility, mountain goats are most often seen scaling steep, rocky ledges. This extreme alpine environment provides them with adequate protection from predators. Strong muscular forequarters and pliable hooves with soft rubbery pads help them maintain traction on craggy rock surfaces and survive in harsh conditions.
Mountain goats eat grasses, sedges, herbs, shrubs, ferns mosses and lichen.
Did You Know?
From around the age of 22 months, it is possible to tell the age of a mountain goat by counting the number of rings on its horns!
There are an estimated 100,000 Mountain Goats in North America.
The Rocky Mountain and coastal ranges of northwestern North America, including southwestern Alaska.
Mountain goats are active both during the day and night, but take time to rest under overhanging cliffs. They mostly live in herds and move around according to season. In the summer, smaller groups will travel to salt licks. Females, called nannies, spend most of the year in herds with their kids, while males either live alone or with 2 – 3 other males. Nannies can be protective of their territory and food, and so will fight other nannies in their herds. During mating season, males will fight each other using their horns for the right to mate with females.
Mating Season: November and December.
Gestation: 150-180 days.
Litter size: Typically one kid; twins rarely.
At birth, the kid weighs around 6 lbs and are able to move along the rocks with its mother within a day or so after
To learn more on Mountain Goats please visit here….
Mountains and Prairie Smoke…
Bear Grass looks like a grass, but really belongs to the lily family. It is about 4.5 feet tall. Its olive-colored, grass-like leaves grow from the base of the plant and are tough and wiry. The outside leaves clasp around the stem. The leaves have toothed margins, and grow about 35 inches long, getting shorter as they near the flowers, looking very much like a fan.
The flowers of bear grass grow on a stalk that can be 6 feet tall with many small flowers. Each flower is creamy white, and saucer shaped, and has a sweet
aroma. The lowest flowers bloom first, creating a tight knot of buds at the top. The entire flower looks a little like fluffy, upside down ice cream cone. Bear grass tends to flower in 5 to 7 year cycles. After the fruit sets, the plant dies. It reproduces by seed, and by sending out offshoots from its rhizomes.
Bear grass is found in open forests and meadows at sub alpine and low alpine elevations in the western United States. It is commonly found under alpine larch (Larix lyallii) and whitebark pine (Pinus albicaulis) stands on cold, rocky sites at upper timberlines.
Bear grass is a fire-resistant species that is the first plant to grow after a fire. Bear grass, and many other native plants, need periodic burns to produce strong, new growth. After a fire bear grass sprouts from its rhizomes which lie just under the surface. Light fires of short duration are best. Intense fires which linger in the same place for a long time will kill the rhizomes under the ground, and prevent the bear grass from growing back.
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