Yellowstone National Park

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Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park, 2,219,791 acres (899,015 hectares), the world's first national park (est. 1872), NW Wyo., extending into Montana and Idaho. It lies mainly on a broad plateau in the Rocky Mts., on the Continental Divide, c.8,000 ft (2,440 m) above sea level, surrounded by mountains from 10,000 to 14,000 ft (3,048–4,267 m) high. The area, a huge craterlike volcanic basin (caldera), is a geological hot spot responsible for several massive eruptions, the most recent occurring some 640,000 years ago. The plateau is mostly formed from once-molten lava.

Volcanic activity is evidenced by nearly 10,000 hot springs, 200 geysers, and many vents and mud pots. The more prominent geysers are unequaled in size, power, and variety. Old Faithful, the best known although not the largest, erupts every 40 to 70 min and shoots c.11,000 gal (41,640 liters) of water some 150 ft (46 m) high. Mammoth Hot Springs, a series of five terraces with reflecting pools, continues to grow as residue from the mineral-rich water is deposited.

The park also has petrified forests, lava formations, and the “black glass” Obsidian Cliff. Eagle Peak, 11,370 ft (3,466 m), is the highest point. Yellowstone Lake, the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, and waterfalls are notable features on the Yellowstone River, which crosses the park. The park has a wide variety of flowers and other plant life. Bears, mountain sheep, elk, bison, moose, many smaller animals, and more than 200 kinds of birds inhabit Yellowstone, which is one of the world's largest wildlife sanctuaries. Fires in 1988 burned about 36% of the park, but animal and plant life rebounded quickly, as the nutrient influx in the ash nourished the soil.

See also National Parks and Monuments, table.


See J. Muir, Yellowstone National Park (1979); B. T. Scott, The Geysers of Yellowstone (rev. ed. 1986); G. Wuerthner, Yellowstone & the Fires of Change (1988).

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Yellowstone National Park

Address:PO Box 168
Yellowstone National Park, WY 82190

Size: 2,219,791 acres.
Established: Established on March 1, 1872. Designated a Biosphere Reserve in 1976 and a World Heritage Site in 1978.
Location:In northwestern Wyoming, with sections in eastern Idaho and southern Montana. Park includes five main entrances: the north entrance is on US 89, near the gateway community of Gardiner, MT; the northeast entrance is on US 212, 69 miles from Red Lodge, WY; the west entrance is on US 20, near the town of West Yellowstone, MT; the east entrance is on US 20 and US 14/16, 53 miles from Cody, WY; and the south entrance is on US 89, 191 and 287, 64 miles from Jackson, WY.
Facilities:Campgrounds (é), picnic area, rest rooms (é), cabin rental, lodging, groceries, restaurant/snacks, boat rental, boat ramp, horse rental, visitor centers (é), museum/exhibit, self-guided tour/trail. Entrance fee required.
Activities:Camping, hiking, horseback riding, bicycling, boating, fishing, snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, wildlife viewing, auto touring, ranger-led programs, educational programs and courses.
Special Features:Old Faithful and some 10,000 other thermal features make this the Earth's greatest geyser area. Here, too, are lakes, waterfalls, high mountain meadows, wildlife, and the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, all set apart in 1872 as the world's first national park.

See other parks in Wyoming.
Parks Directory of the United States, 5th Edition. © 2007 by Omnigraphics, Inc.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Yellowstone National Park


located in the northwestern USA in Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho. Founded in 1872, it is the oldest national park in the country. Area, about 9, 000 sq km (1970). It is located in the Rocky Mountains on a volcanic plateau at an elevation of 2, 200–2, 500 m.

In geological structure the plateau of Yellowstone NationalPark is a subsidence that dates from the Paleocene and is filledwith later volcanic and glacial deposits. Points of interest includemore than 3, 000 geysers (the highest stream of the Excelsiorgeyser is up to 90 m) and hot springs and many mud volcanoesand lakes. Other interesting sights are the Grand Canyon of theYellowstone, 360 m deep and 20 km long; waterfalls up to 94 mhigh; and petrified trees buried under volcanic ash. There is alsoconiferous forest (a number of species of pine, fir, and spruce, with some alder, birch, and aspen). The park is inhabited bybison, American black bear, deer, grizzly, elk, pronghorn, big-horn sheep, and coyotes and trumpeter swan, bald eagle, andwhite pelican (about 200 species of birds). The principal touristseason is June through August.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

Yellowstone National Park

a national park in the NW central US, mostly in NW Wyoming: the oldest and largest national park in the US, containing unusual geological formations and geysers. Area: 8956 sq. km (3458 sq. miles)
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
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