Liberty Cap, an Extinct Hot Spring Cone near Terrace Mountain, Yellowstone Nat. Park, Wyo.
figureposted on 2019-05-21, 00:00 authored by No Author
LIBERTY CAP, FOOT OF TERRACE MOUNTAIN, YELLOWSTONE PARK. Having walked up the gentle slope from Mammoth Hotel, which we see in the distance, we come at the very foot of Terrace Mountain to a striking extinct hot spring cone whose shape at once suggests the name by which it is known--Liberty Cap. Exactly as it appears today it was seen by its discoverer, Prof. F. V. Hayden, in 1871. It is composed, as are all the formations of Mammoth Hot Springs, of pure calcium carbonate, dissolved from the beds of limestone far below and brought to the surface by the hot springs. On reaching the air, the minerals in the water are deposited through processes of cooling, evaporation, freezing and the extraction of carbon dioxid gas by a minute form of plant life called algae which is everywhere present in the active springs. Prof. Hayden accounted for the formation of the Liberty Cap, which is 38 ft. high and 20 ft. in diameter at its base, in these words: "The water was forced up with considerable power and probably without intermission, building up its own crater until the pressure beneath was exhausted and then it gradually closed itself over at the summit and perished. The layers of lime were deposited around it like the layers of straw on a thatched roof or hay on a conical stack." A short distance from Liberty Cap, on the edge of the terraces, we see a similar but smaller cone called the Giant's Thumb, just besie which we begin to ascend the terraces themselves, our feet crunching over the surface of disintegrated calcium carbonate which has the dazzling whiteness and somewhat the feel of crisp, freshly fallen snow. (View looking N. E. Elev. 6,400 ft. Lat. 45° N.; Long. 111° W.)