Yellowstone Road Melts — New “geothermal feature” causes road deformations

A well used road at the Yellowstone National Park supervolcano is melting due to a new “geothermal feature” forming below ground.

(thanks to Justin Walter for sharing the story)

Rangers at Yellowstone National Park have temporarily closed Upper Terrace Drive near Mammoth Hot Springs to vehicles due to a new thermal feature that is affecting the road. (Yellowstone National Park photo)


This has happened before, however this time around, instead of blaming it on “hot weather” / “the sun” , officials are admitting the melting of the road is actually due to a new geothermal feature taking form.

Now , July 17 2015, Upper Terrace Drive near Mammoth Hot Springs is closed, measured with subsurface soil temperatures exceeding 152F / 69C.

Upper Terrace Drive located at the North Entrance to Yellowstone National Park , part of Terrace Mountain “butte” volcano.

Last year, the same thing happened, roads actually melted to the point where oil in the pavement was bubbling.

Defying logic (and reason) , an instant cover story was spun up by the Media (and National Park Service) .. trying to make the claim that the 80F / 27C temperatures were somehow magically melting the asphalt (SMH + a real life facepalm at that notion).

At the time when the roads previously melted, I was a lone voice in the wilderness telling everyone that there was not a snowballs chance in hell that the Sun would be melting roads in Northern Wyoming on a partly cloudy 80F week.

Within a day of blaming the Sun, they backtracked a bit, and said it was a COMBINATION of Sun and some heat from the ground :) .

Here we are today in July 2015, and we have a full admission of a geothermal cause.

Most likely, the only reason they’re admitting a new geothermal feature, is because tourists noticed the feature, and it became undeniable.

Recent news reports over the past few month have shown that Yellowstone supervolcano is much bigger than previously thought, measuring an additional 11 “grand canyons” worth of stored magma below the Volcanic caldera at the National Park.

Road in Yellowstone National Park closed to vehicles due to thermal activity

“Rangers at Yellowstone National Park have temporarily closed Upper Terrace Drive near Mammoth Hot Springs to vehicles due to a new thermal feature that is affecting the road.

A press release from the park says that the new feature became “visibly active” in May near the Upper Terrace parking lot, creating new small terraces adjacent to the drive.

Geologists and rangers monitored the thermal feature and found temperatures up to 152 degrees Fahrenheit.

Rangers noticed additional thermal activity this week adjacent to and under the pavement, which triggered the temporary closure.

Thermal imaging shows heat under the pavement as well.

Park geologist Dr. Hank Heasler said, “We have known this area had heat near the surface based on the fact that it does not hold snow in the winter. We drilled two holes a half-meter (20 inches) deep, both of which now have hot water bubbling at the surface or very near the surface.”

Park visitors are still able to walk on the Upper Terrace Drive.

Maintenance staff is preparing bumper logs to protect the thermal feature and keep the outflow off of the pavement.

Once those are in place, the road will reopen to vehicle traffic.

Heasler noted, “As in all of the thermal areas, visitors need to stay on the boardwalks or paved areas and avoid touching thermal features.”

Yellowstone : Extreme Heat from the SuperVolcano is Melting the Roadways (Jul 15, 2014)


Thanks to Tukker R. for reporting this! TODAY UPDATE THE LINKS BELOW: Yellowstone supervolcano ‘turned the asphalt into soup’ shutting down Natl. Park’s roads Angry bison charges at a small child in Yellowstone park by TAT’S 2 MIN NEWS From Associated Press + TWC : The ever-changing thermal geology of Yellowstone

Read more [+]

Yellowstone National Park ( 23 pages )