Friday, February 14, 2014

Geologically speaking

It is easy to forget while walking along a gray chalky path in Yellowstone National Park that you are walking on the mantle of an active volcano.

A volcano that, in geological time, is a recent explosion. It is truly just yesterday that this massive volcano exploded and I am the visitor who rushed to the scene.

The smell of sulfur gas is strong in the air as it escapes up through fissures in the ground and wafts through the air from mists of erupting geysers. The geysers are intensely hot, yet, when the mist lands on your skin it is warm from being cooled by the air.

The emerald blue pools of mineral water is likewise intensely hot and both speak of the power of the Earth just below the surface.

When sunset comes, the geysers are silhouetted against the sky and continue their eruptions day and night.

The shape of the misty water is clear against a twilight sky and steady and sure as the sun's coming and going.

But this serene calmness is an illusion and but a reprieve between explosions. Yellowstone periodically erupts every 800,000 years and it is due soon.

 And, in geological time, it is a frequently exploding volcano.

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