Environmental Protection - January 2001 - Protection Perspectives
Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River
Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Image saved at a resolution of 150 dpi

In 1872, congress established Yellowstone as the world’s first national park. Originally set aside to protect the unique hot springs and geysers, the park and surrounding national forests have become increasingly important as a regional ecosystem and wildlife sanctuary. The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River includes two waterfalls and a 20-mile gorge that is as deep as 1,500 feet. The canyon walls are composed of rhyolite that was spread across the park after a catastrophic volcanic (caldera) eruption. The usually dark rhyolite has been chemically altered by centuries of hydrothermal activity to its present photogenic yellow, orange, red, and white colors. Because most of the park roads are closed during the winter, heated snow coaches provide access to the few hardy visitors. Cross-country skiers can explore over 50 miles of trails through this land of steam and ice. Photographed by John A. Karachewski, Ph.D. Visit his web site at www.geoscapesphotography.com 

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