On Location at Yellowstone

09/13/2020  |  Yellowstone National Park

On a return visit to Yellowstone I decided to show the location at Mammoth Hot Springs and perspective of my photograph 'Spirit Dance.' This video shows how small the two trees are and how I was standing just above them on the board walk. Check out the video!

dead trees posed as if dancing at Mammoth Hot Springs Yellowstone National Park
Spirit Dance
Yellowstone National Park

Limited Edition of 50 Museum Grade, Fine Art Prints.

Spirit Dance
Here we stand all alone

branches bare roots still strong
love in the air there’s still a chance
when we feel the spirit dance.
By Judy Lentz, of Sumner, Missouri.

I took this photograph on 6/26/2020 while in Yellowstone National Park. It was on a quick trip through the park on my return home from Montana and I was looking for interesting trees in the hot springs. I was walking on the boardwalk at Mammoth, looking off the edge for anything interesting when I saw this scene. This is actually nine vertical images panning from left to right and then stitched (combined) and cropped in Photo Shop to a 2:3 ratio image. It looks like an aerial photograph from a drone or aircraft but I was literally just looking down on the scene about four feet above the trees, which are only about two feet tall. I love the brilliant colors of red and yellow and the texture of the mineral deposits from the springs. The whole image has an otherworldly abstract feeling to it.

When it came to naming this photograph I was stumped so I decided to ask on social media what I should name it, and the winner would get a free framed 8x10 inch print. I ended up with over 1000 suggestions! Right off the bat I had suggestions of dancing because of how the trees are posed. I really liked that concept. The winner, Judy Lentz, said 'Spirit Dance'. I knew that was the one! When I contacted Judy she was very happy she had won. She also informed me she liked the image so much she had written a little poem about it. With her permission I have included the poem. Thank you Judy for such a wonderful and perfect suggestion!

Spirit Dance shown as a 30x45 inch Aluminum Mount print in a Roma Bourbon frame.

Mammoth Hot Springs is a large complex of hot springs on a hill of travertine in Yellowstone National Park adjacent to Fort Yellowstone and the Mammoth Hot Springs Historic District.[3] It was created over thousands of years as hot water from the spring cooled and deposited calcium carbonate (over two tons flow into Mammoth each day in a solution). Because of the huge amount of geothermal vents, travertine flourishes.[4] Although these springs lie outside the caldera boundary, their energy has been attributed to the same magmatic system that fuels other Yellowstone geothermal areas.

View of the terraces made of crystallized calcium carbonate

The hot water that feeds Mammoth comes from Norris Geyser Basin after traveling underground via a fault line[5] that runs through limestone and roughly parallel to the Norris-to-Mammoth road. The limestone from rock formations along the fault is the source of the calcium carbonate.[6] [7] Shallow circulation along this corridor allows Norris's superheated water to slightly cool before surfacing at Mammoth, generally at about 170 °F (80 °C). Algae living in the warm pools have tinted the travertine shades of brown, orange, red, and green.[8]

Elk on travertine terraces, Mammoth Hot Springs

Thermal activity here is extensive both over time and distance. The thermal flows show much variability with some variations taking place over periods ranging from decades to days.[6] Terrace Mountain at Mammoth Hot Springs is the largest known carbonate-depositing spring in the world. The most famous feature at the springs is the Minerva Terrace, a series of travertine terraces. The terraces have been deposited by the spring over many years but, due to recent minor earthquake activity,[when?] the spring vent has shifted, rendering the terraces dry.

Mineral deposition, Mammoth Hot Springs

Travertine Terrace

The Mammoth Terraces extend all the way from the hillside, across the Parade Ground, and down to Boiling River. The Mammoth Hotel, as well as all of Fort Yellowstone, is built upon an old terrace formation known as Hotel Terrace. There was some concern when construction began in 1891 on the fort site that the hollow ground would not support the weight of the buildings. Several large sink holes (fenced off) can be seen out on the Parade Ground. This area has been thermally active for several thousand years.[9]

Stereo card view of Cleopatra's Terrace by T.W. Ingersoll

The Mammoth area exhibits much evidence of glacial activity from the Pinedale Glaciation. The summit of Terrace Mountain is covered with glacial till, thereby dating the travertine formation there to earlier than the end of the Pinedale Glaciation. Several thermal kames, including Capitol Hill and Dude Hill, are major features of the Mammoth Village area. Ice-marginal stream beds are in evidence in the small, narrow valleys where Floating Island Lake and Phantom Lake are found. In Gardner Canyon one can see the old, sorted gravel bed of the Gardner River covered by unsorted glacial till.[9]