Yellowstone National Park

By: Jacob Branham

Yellowstone National Park has many unique and interesting characteristics in many different categories. Yellowstone has a prodigious amount of visitors a year. Keep reading to find out how much and why!


Yellowstone National Park's geology is one of its most unique and interesting characteristics, but while we know a lot about it, much remains a mystery. Yellowstone has more than half the world's geysers with over 300 active ones! Three of these geysers are Old Faithful, Steamboat Geyser, and Echinus Geyer. Old Faithful's average eruption interval was 90 to 91 minutes for several years, but recently decreased to 88 minutes. In September of 2014, Steamboat Geyser had a major eruption. Echinus Geyser, a very large acid-water geyser, has had periods with infrequent activity. However, scientists do not believe that these are signs that Yellowstone is ready to erupt.

Yellowstone has between 1,000 to 3,000 earthquakes annually. However, in 1985, 3,000 earthquakes were recorded in just three months! Even with that many earthquakes, most are not felt. In 1959 and 1983, there were two very large earthquakes with magnitudes of 7.3 and 6.9, but the largest earthquake in Yellowstone since the 1980s was only a magnitude of 4.8. Some of this data comes from a geological monitoring system that scientists use to monitor Yellowstone.

From 542 to 66 million years ago the Yellowstone area was covered by inland seas. Between 50 and 40 million years ago, there were volcanics in the Yellowstone area. Then, 16 millions years ago, there were volcanics in the area again. Yellowstone's first major eruption was 2.1 million years ago, its second major eruption was 1.3 million years ago, and its third major eruption was 640,000 years ago. There have been several smaller eruptions in Yellowstone, including one 174,000 years ago. Though Yellowstone has only had three major eruptions in the last 2 million years, magma has been close to Yellowstone's surface for more than 2 million years. Even though much of Yellowstone's geology has been discovered, a lot has yet to be unearthed.


Yellowstone's history goes back thousands of years and is filled with many fascinating details. Yellowstone National Park was established in 1872, 44 years before the National Park Service was created in 1916! Scientists have found proof that humans have been in Yellowstone for more than 11,000 years. Many Native Americans tribes have also used the park. The most well known of these Native American tribes are the Sheep Eaters. In the 1830s Osborne Russel recorded early visits to the park and in 1870 the first organized expedition explored Yellowstone. The U.S. army managed the park from 1886 to 1918. It stayed the same size until 1929, when it had its first boundary adjustment.

Yellowstone National Park is named for Yellowstone River, the major river that runs through it. In the 1800s, French-Canadian trappers asked the Minnetaree tribe the name of the river, and they answered "Mi tse a-da-zi". "Mi tse a-da-zi" translates to "Rock Yellow River". The name was later formalized to "Yellowstone". Historians and scientists have discovered much of Yellowstone's history, but they have not yet discovered all of it.

Size, Location, and Visitation

Yellowstone is a titanic national park located in the U.S.A. and pulls in millions of visitors a year. Yellowstone hosts close to 4 million visits a year. In June, the average number of visits is about 763,000, while in November there is only an average of about 12,700! About 90 percent of the park's annual visits come between May and September. Not all of Yellowstone's visitors are from the U.S, but that is where it is located. It is located in three states: Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming. 96 percent of it is in Wyoming, 3 percent of it is in Montana, and 1 percent of it is in Idaho. It is larger than 2.2 million acres and 3,400 square miles. It is larger than Rhode Island and Delaware, two states in the U.S, combined. 80 percent of it is covered by forests, 15 percent by grassland, and 5 percent by water. It is one of the most titanic national parks, it is one of the most visited national parks, and it has beauty to match.

These are just some of Yellowstone's interesting characteristics and categories.

Yellowstone has about 355 workers who work year round and 780 during the peak summer season.

How the geysers came to be

There once were 300 immortal men who all could spit great streams of water. They were all 6'6" tall and all wore the same thing: a grass skirt and a cape. Their leader was 6'7" and had a special leader cape. They were peaceful and kind with each other. That all changed on one fateful day. The 300 men had a leader, Bob, that ruled them peacefully for centuries. That fateful day started with him. He had been robbed of his leader cape that had been made for him when he became leader. He went berserk when he found out that he had been robbed! In his rage, he blamed the first man that he saw. That man was his brother, Fred. Fred said to Bob: "It was not I who did it, but our other brother, Harold.". Then they traveled from where Bob lived at the edge of Yellowstone to where their Harold lived in Yellowstone. Harold said that it was not him and sent them to another man. That man sent Bob to another man and so on until every man was blamed.

That sent all 300 men into a fit of rage. That then started a war with all 300 men with Yellowstone as the battleground. They fought each other by spitting streams of water at each other. Then, they swallowed magma to make the water that they spat scalding hot. The scalding hot water that they spat at each other burned Yellowstone's ground viciously. The ground was very hurt and full of rage. It was so mad that it swallowed all the immortal men and kept them trapped under its surface. The men ate the magma under the ground and shot streams of hot water into the sky. The men's water streams can still be seen today, though many people call them geysers.

The moral is to be aware of your surroundings and consequences. If the men had been aware of their surroundings then they would not have burned the ground and therefore been trapped underground. If the men had been aware of the possible consequences then they would have not blamed each other and would not have had a war.

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