Cleopatra Terraces, the most beautiful in the Park, Mammoth Hot Springs, Yellowstone Park, U.S.A.
figureposted on 01.01.1904, 00:00 authored by No Author
Cleopatra is the youngest and one of the highest terraces of the formation. In fact, the formation seems to be traveling up the mountain side for there is evidence of terrace formation all the way from Gardiner River, where the water from the terraces finally empites, up to the terraces of Jupiter and Cleopatra, which are nearly 2,000 feet above Gardiner River. The mineral deposited from the springs of Jupiter and Cleopatra Terraces is chiefly carbonate of lime thus differing from most of the other springs of the Park where hydrate of silica is the chief deposit. Great quantities of this mineral are held in solution, and , as much of the hot water evaporates, some of its load is deposited around the spring. Strange as it may seem, one of the chief factors in causing the water to deposit its mineral is the presence of several species of microscopic plants, known as blue-green algae, which are able to live in water at a temperature of 185°. These low forms of plant life may be found around the borders of most of the hot springs. The evenly built character of these terraces is explained by John Tyndall, the great English physicist, as follows: "Imagine the case of a simple thermal silicious spring, whose waters trickle down a gentle incline; the water thus exposed evaporates speedily, and silica is deposited. This deposit gradually elevates the side over which the water passes, until finally the latter has to take another course. The same takes place here; the ground is elevated as before,and the spring has to move forward. Thus it is compelled to travel round and round discharging its silica and deepening the shaft in which it dwells, until finally, in the course of ages, the simple spring has produced that wonderful apparatus which has so long puzzled and astonished the traveler and the philosopher."