Ominous bubbling and boiling in the "Devil's Punch Bowl," Yellowstone Park, U.S.A.
figureposted on 01.01.1904, 00:00 by No Author
This is one of the famous landmarks of the Upper Geyser Basin. This spring does not spout, but keeps up an incessant boiling just as you see it now; overflowing its basin most of the time, the water is the bluest of blues and that beautifully shaped rim, 18 inches high, apparently sculptured into elaborately complicated shapes, shows all sorts of gorgeous colors, like an enamel setting for a jewel--red, burnt orange, sulphur yellow, olive green, every sort of brown and citron hue. Streaks of the same color extend out on these crusty masses of geyserite surrounding the rim. The level stretches of geyserite over there in the distance are mostly yellowish and brownish white. The surface of the earth for many rods around is covered in this way with a deposit of silicious material which the hot waters had dissolved from rocks down below the surface and brought up in solution. Geologists estimate that it must have taken thousands of years for this crust you see now to accumulate its present depth. The water itself is surface water, originally rainfall on these surrounding hills, which percolates down through the soil and collects in subterranean hollows where it is raised to boiling heat by the earth's primeval furnace fires. One of the most curious things about the spring water is the fact that its brilliant blue color is caused by the growth of minute forms of vegetation that thrive in a temperature of 140 degree or thereabouts. Forest growth like that you see yonder (you are looking just now about northwest towards the Idaho line) covers more than three-fourths of the Park area. (See H. M. Chittenden: "Yellowstone National Park.") From Notes of Travel, No. 13, copyright, 1904, by Underwood & Underwood.