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Yellowstone"s Glacial Geology
Aug 1-4, 2007.
We are staying in Grizzly RV-Park in West Yellowstone, Montana just out the west gate of Yellowstone National Park. We stayed in a different site every night because we did not have reservations and at this time of year they are FULL. The only way we got to stay there for 4-nights was to move into cancellation sites. The rates range from around $37 to $47 depending on a variety of things but generally back in sites were cheaper than pull-thru sites. Then they charge $4 for wifi. I suppose the pull-thru sites are a bit larger so the BIG rigs would probably be forced into one of them. Grizzly is a nice park, the nicest campground in the area. Bottom line is if you are planning to visit WEST YELLOWSTONE during July thru Aug-15 you need a reservation as every campground in the area is FULL. After August 15 you can have your choice of campgrounds with no reservations.
Not all geology in Yellowstone was created by volcanic activity. This is a large glacial erratic dropped here by a glacier thousands of years ago. This large boulder is of different material than the surrounding rocks. It was transported here by a glacier that melted thus releasing this "rock" here, far away from where it originated. It is 15-miles from its nearest place of origin. It was dropped from melting ice (the glacier) about 10,000 years ago.
By the way you can see this large (estimated to weigh 500-tons) " glacial erratic" or "glacial boulder" on the road from Canyon Visitor Center to Inspiration Point.
Between Roosevelt Junction and the Lamar Valley lies an interesting geologic area that provides abundant evidence of the glaciers that once covered this area.
These large boulders are glacial erratics.
Far from their origins, these giant boulders were carried by ice for many miles before being abandoned and dropped by the melting glacier.
Evidence of ancient glacier
This scene is evidence of a long gone glacier.
After carving the mountains and valleys a once powerful glacier melted and retreated, leaving clues of its existence like scattered kettle ponds (this green depression is a kettle pond), ground moraines, and isolated boulders (glacial erratics).
Born during the glacier's retreat, kettle ponds are now home to many plants and animals.
As geologists tell time, the last glacier retreated from here around 12,000 years ago.
As a glacier recedes, house-sized blocks of ice are sometimes left behind, partially buried in ground-up rock and soil. Although insulated by glacial silt, the ice gradually melts, leaving a steep-sided or kettle-shaped depression that can later fill with water and form a pond.
The large boulders seen strewn about are glacial erratics.
Kettle pond & glacial erratics
This is another kettle pond although it is harder to distinguish.
The large boulders are glacial erratics.
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