Earth Science

Life at Yellowstone: Past and Present

Above the Yellowstone Hot Spot, deep in the caldera of the super volcano, Mammoth Hot Springs cover hundreds of acres of ground — just a tiny corner of the heat coming up with water through the broken stone.P2040951

The story told in scientific culture is one of hot water that flows through deep cracks and rises as superheated steam to make hot springs. I no longer think that’s quite it. Sometimes it helps to look up.


Look at that, eh. The grass is catching the same light — it, too, is heat. In fact, the age of the rock here, from mineralization through fire pines to grass, and the hues of light they attract and repel, their heat, so to speak, can be read, easily. This is time we’re looking at. Everything here is a hot spring, including the stone, including the waters, including the calcium carbonate, including the trees and grass and the singers …P2040513

… and the life colonizing the hot springs and giving them colour …


… are a weave of time, that all exists at once, and is still opening. In the caldera, the past is also present. Call this life. I do.

5 replies »

    • Beautiful, Cindy! I hope you had both the rain and sun I had and maybe not the flat tire from a nail that found me at the park entrance!


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