November 18, 2016

The news from Yellowstone.

1. Mapping what's underground: "This is really kind of a last frontier if you will, in Yellowstone, of being able to look at a large part that’s underground that people have not looked at.... There’s just a lot we don’t know, and this survey is really exciting because it’s going to be the first view of a large portion of the groundwater system, of the water underground that feeds all of these thermal features."

2. Getting closer to taking grizzly bears of the Endangered Species List: "At that time, there were approximately 136 bears in Yellowstone. Today, officials estimate that there are more than 700 bears.... [Yellowstone superintendent Dan] Wenk says, if the grizzly populations shrink, it could threaten Yellowstone tourism. While hunters cannot pursue grizzlies on national park land, hunting could be allowed just outside of the parks, and therefore impact the grizzlies that live in or near Yellowstone and other national parks such as the Grand Teton National Park."

3. A 23-year-old man who fell into a hot spring not only died — his body dissolved overnight: "An Oregon man who died after falling into a scalding Yellowstone National Park hot spring in June was looking for a place to 'hot pot,' the forbidden practice of soaking in one of the park's thermal features, officials said. Sable Scott told investigators that she and her 23-year-old brother, Colin, left a boardwalk near Pork Chop Geyser.... As Sable Scott took video of her brother with her cellphone on June 7, he reached down to check the water temperature and slipped and fell into a thermal pool about 6 feet long, 4 feet wide and 10 feet deep.... Search and rescue rangers spotted Colin Scott's body floating in the pool the day of the accident, but a lightning storm prevented recovery, the report said. The next day, workers could not find any remains in the boiling, acidic water. 'In very short order, there was a significant amount of dissolving,' said [Deputy Chief Ranger Lorant Veress]."

62 comments:

rhhardin said...

A major eruption there could wipe out a lot of democrat votes.

Big Mike said...

When grizzlies are around it's the campers who are endangered.

Big Mike said...

The last time the Yellowstone cauldera blew the ejected rocks came down as far away as Ohio. I imagine there was a nuclear winter covering the northern hemisphere for quite some time afterwards.

traditionalguy said...

That is actual Global Warming. The atmosphere is safe until you reach 14,000 feet. It's the hellish earth core that we need to fear.

mockturtle said...

Refreshing to see some articles NOT from the NYT, New Yorker or the WaPo. I'm afraid Althouse's wellspring of information is awfully shallow.

Curious George said...

"These maps will also allow us to better predict if and when a 'super-eruption' could occur in the area - something that hasn’t happened in 13,800 years, but when it did, it left behind the largest crater of its kind on the planet."

That knowledge would do more harm than good.

Gahrie said...

Note to self:

If you need to dispose of a body...head to Yellowstone....

Curious George said...

"Search and rescue rangers spotted Colin Scott's body floating in the pool the day of the accident, but a lightning storm prevented recovery, the report said.

The next day, workers could not find any remains in the boiling, acidic water.

"In very short order, there was a significant amount of dissolving," Veress said."

Yes, significant.


coupe said...

(1) is interesting, but (3) has the most gore.

I bet she didn't even get a shot of him going in. That's the sad part.

William said...

I see commercial possibilities in these hot spots. This is a step beyond cremation. Who wants to have their ashes scattered in Yellowstone when they could be rendered unto the waters of life. The family and mourners could gather around the hot spot and sing hymns and picnic on organic foods while the body of the deceased becomes transfigured by the demiurge of nature and Yellowstone. Each individual could pass by the hot spot and take one last inhalation of the steam that is now their loved one......Robert Redford is getting old. Perhaps he could get the ball rolling. The symbolism would be very moving. It could be like the funeral of a Viking king.

rhhardin said...

The last time it blew, there was no claim of responsibility. They may still be at large.

rhhardin said...

It might have been some medicine man.

The Drill SGT said...

"These maps will also allow us to better predict if and when a 'super-eruption' could occur in the area - something that hasn’t happened in 13,800 years, but when it did, it left behind the largest crater of its kind on the planet."

The article is crap. It mixes the "Super eruptions" at 2.1M years ago, 1.4M, and .63M years ago with a little burp 13,800 years ago. It calls the burp, a super eruption and talks about a largest crater 3 miles across, but the real super eruptions move material on the scale of 240 cubic miles of rock and ash.

exhelodrvr1 said...

Shouldn't the grizzlies stay on the Endangered List because of what would happen to them if there is an eruption?

Rick said...

A 23-year-old man who fell into a hot spring not only died — his body dissolved overnight:

This was from 6 months ago.

As Sable Scott took video of her brother with her cellphone on June 7, he reached down to check the water temperature and slipped and fell into a thermal pool about 6 feet long, 4 feet wide and 10 feet deep, according to a National Park Service incident record first reported by KULR.

boycat said...

Maybe the grizzlies gave up hot potting.

LYNNDH said...

Now we know what happened to Jimmy Hoffa.

Tari said...

Rick, on #3, the Park Service just released the report because of a FOIA request.

This happened when we were visiting Yellowstone. We'd actually planned to go to that part of the park the next day. I can't imagine walking around the Park, smelling all the unpleasant smells, looking at the Martian landscape, and thinking "hey, this is a great place to go hot-tubbing!" it's a beautiful landscape, but it does not feel comfortable or even safe.

mikee said...

What, no bison stomping notes in an article about Yellowstone!

AprilApple said...

bubble above boiling hot hot spring "mmmm Tasty park visitors. *burp*"

Earnest Prole said...

One word: Darwin

David said...

"if the grizzly populations shrink, it could threaten Yellowstone tourism."

And if the population grows, it could threaten tourists. That's ok. The tourists need to learn to take one for the team.

bagoh20 said...

It seems unlikely to me that his body dissolved overnight. That's either an exaggeration or the bears are like me and tend to eat all the meat and leave the broth behind.

Yancey Ward said...

Combine a pH of 3 or less with water nearly 90C, and I could definitely see a body dissolving in pool that size in just a few hours.

If you are going to die, that isn't the way to go.

SukieTawdry said...

I can't imagine that anyone who's seen the thermal pools at Yellowstone would actually go hunting for a place to soak. On the other hand, there are a number of rivers and tributaries in proximity to the park where you will come across wonderful--and perfectly safe--"hot pots."

SukieTawdry said...

Years ago I spent some time in Yellowstone by myself hiking and photographing the backcountry. There were lots of signs warning about the grizzlies but they concerned me not in the least. Fast forward to last year when I was about to set out on a local hike by myself and encountered a warning about mountain lions which made me turn around. So, do we get more cowardly as we age or just more cautious and smarter?

dbp said...

One could use such a hotspring to get rid of a body. But then why bother? There is another part of the park where you can commit murder and not be prosecuted. Zone of death.

furious_a said...

In Bear Country one is advised to carry little silver bells to frighten away the bears and pepper spray if that doesn't work.

One can tell if there are bears in the vicinity from their scat: it has little silver bells in it and smells like pepper spray.

Ann Althouse said...

"This was from 6 months ago."

It's news today. The report was just released.

Ann Althouse said...

A FOIA request had to be made to extract the story.

Hagar said...

Those are called "mother-in-law bells" by the Navajos. Mothers-in-law are supposed to wear them to give the young ones fair warning when they are near.

Quaestor said...

1 molar idiot.

SukieTawdry said...

In Bear Country one is advised to carry little silver bells to frighten away the bears and pepper spray if that doesn't work.

One can tell if there are bears in the vicinity from their scat: it has little silver bells in it and smells like pepper spray.


LOL--good one.

The Bear said...

Not surprised at all that a body could desolve in one of Yellowstone's hot acid pools.

Freind of my Dad's worked in the park at one of the restaurants (I think it was at Old Faithful Lodge) when they were in High School and one night as she was taking trash out to a dumpster she stepped thru the asphalt sidewalk into a hot acid flow and badly burned her leg most of the way up to her knee. Dad said that she carried the keloid scars and sores (that looked like the ones you see on photo's of Hiroshima and Nagasaki survivors) until she died of old age a few years ago.

If you ever wonder why they use recycled plastic-board walkways in large parts of the park now its because that plastic is one of the few things that resists the acid. Wood also does pretty well. The parks minor hot areas are always moving and a new hot zone can form with little notice. Asphalt walkways can be undermined and melt and the acid will desolve concrete. The park is both beautiful and very dangerous. Every time I see idiots strolling off the paths or worse letting their kids leave the paths in areas marked STAY ON PATH, I just cringe.

I won't even delve deeply into people who think playing with the various fauna is wise. Darwin is still in play here. Messing around with bear cubs is cool (NOT), that you can dance around in amongst the Bison without a fear, and God forbid you get careless around the moose.Bison are now the most dangerous animal in the park.

Newflash - Bullwinkle used to be the most dangerous critter in the park before there were so many bison ... moose used to injure and kill more people than any other animal in Yellowstone - they are huge, bad tempered (especially during their mating season and moms with young), and they can move far faster than something that big should be able to move.

I have personally been chased by a moose and it was only because we were in such heavy brush at the time that it didn't catch up to me and the girl I was with. We were very lucky about our location when we happened upon the moose ... as we didn't see it until we reacted to the noise when it started to charge us from the side. They don't see all that well and it lost sight of us in the clutter and ran on by us as we turned on the run thru the undergrowth. If we'd been in a more open spot - one or both of us would have had a very bad day.

Yancey Ward said...

I remember the story when it was reported- it lacked the detail about what the unfortunate young man was doing when he left the trail.

Big Mike said...

I've been tod that Alaskans refer to a .44 Magnum as "bear repellent."

eddie willers said...

If you ever wonder why they use recycled plastic-board walkways in large parts of the park now it's because that plastic is one of the few things that resists the acid.

I learned that from watching Breaking Bad.

robother said...

70 Griz in Yellowstone? I'm going to take a wild guess that one or more of them smelled something cooking and figured out a way to fish the morsel out of the hot pot. Seems like the bones would not dissolve, but rather accumulate formations. (I've seen encrusted antlers like in pools.)

Tyrone Slothrop said...

SukieTawdry said...

So, do we get more cowardly as we age or just more cautious and smarter?

I lived in southeast Alaska for ten years and spent a good deal of time in the woods in spite of what amounts to a phobia of big bears. I had nightmares about being chased by bears where my dream gun wouldn't fire. In all my time up there, I saw exactly one bear, at least five hundred yards away. Old timers would tell me being afraid of these cranky 1000-pound critters was simply the most reasonable response.

Now I live in an area where mountain lions are fairly common. A bicyclist was killed by one a couple of years ago within a few miles of here. I do a lot of hiking here, too, and while I'm conscious of the (minimal) danger, I don't obsess about it like I did with bears. In Alaska I never went into the woods without at least a .44 magnum. Here in California I am forbidden from carrying a gun to defend myself. As David said, I suppose I'm expected to take one for the team.

mikeski said...

Re: bells & pepper spray... I heard that joke as the way to identify black bear vs. grizzly bear scat. Black bear scat has berry hulls and bits of squirrel fur. Grizzly bear scat has bells and pepper.

The way to identify an actual bear is to climb a tree. If it climbs up after you and eats you in the tree, it was a black bear. If it pushes the tree over and eats you on the ground, it was a grizzly.

EDH said...

"Liquid Hot Magmaaa."

chickelit said...

Quaestor said...1 molar idiot.

Lol. Geeky, but it made me chuckle.

chickelit said...

The guy is definitely no long part of the problem because he's part of the solution.

mockturtle said...

Chickelit quips: The guy is definitely no long part of the problem because he's part of the solution.

Love it! ;-D

mockturtle said...

Bear says: I won't even delve deeply into people who think playing with the various fauna is wise. Darwin is still in play here. Messing around with bear cubs is cool (NOT), that you can dance around in amongst the Bison without a fear, and God forbid you get careless around the moose.Bison are now the most dangerous animal in the park.

In Alaska I watched an idiot with his camera following a grizzly at very close range on his ATV [the idiot's ATV, not the bear's]. I was rather hoping the bear would turn and devour him. Maybe it did--I was just driving through and didn't stay to watch.

Curious George said...

"chickelit said...
The guy is definitely no long part of the problem because he's part of the solution."

This is in the top 5 of all-time Althouse responses. Bravo!

Howard said...

Yellowstone is like Hawaii except it is trapped under a thick Continental rocks. The continent is a lid on the heat flow, Continental magma has more gas and higher viscosity, hence the explosive eruptions after eons of burps, farts and a little muddy diarrhea.

SukieTawdry said...

If you ever wonder why they use recycled plastic-board walkways in large parts of the park now its because that plastic is one of the few things that resists the acid.

They use them also at Soda Lake, a dry alkaline expanse, in Carrizo Plain National Monument. I actually like the looks of them. Carrizo Plain, by the way, is in southeast San Luis Obispo County California and is well worth a detour if you're in the area. There are excellent viewpoints of and access to the San Andreas fault which cuts through the plain. A unusual place and very cool.

So, Tyrone, 10 years, one bear? I was in Alaska for only two weeks and saw twice as many as you.

Peggy Coffey said...

We took our children camping in Yellowstone and Grand Teton every summer, started when they were very small. It was drilled into their heads that this was wild country and NEVER get off the path to play with the wild animals. We saw lots of bears and had a grizzly come up to sniff our car, while we were in it. A ranger appeared immediately and the bear wandered off to something better. The rangers have a tough job with all the stupid people that we saw, and they seemed to get more stupid every year.

Bad Lieutenant said...

I learned that from watching Breaking Bad.


But only certain plastics, possibly only for certain combinations of acids.

Humperdink said...

I absolutely loved Yellowstone. At one of the gift shops, I saw grizzly repellent canisters for sale. They were the size of fire extinguishers.

Curious George said...

"dbp said...
One could use such a hotspring to get rid of a body. But then why bother? There is another part of the park where you can commit murder and not be prosecuted. Zone of death."

Well, there and in Fort Marcy Park.

Beach Brutus said...

The Hot Pot only measured 4' x 6'. If she was there, why didn't she lend a hand and pull him out?

Quaestor said...

The guy is definitely no long part of the problem because he's part of the solution.

Same thinking, much better execution. (Hat tip)

Quaestor said...

The Hot Pot only measured 4' x 6'. If she was there, why didn't she lend a hand and pull him out?

That would only precipitate a crisis.

Michael K said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michael K said...

"I could definitely see a body dissolving in pool that size in just a few hours."

Think about organisms that thrive in those conditions. They are called Thermophiles. and thrive in extreme conditions. They are one variety of Extremeophiles.

I have a book on their metabolism and physiology.

RigelDog said...

I have a book about the history of accidental death at Yellowstone. The first chapter is about those who die from entering or falling into the hot water spots. It has happened over and over through the years and I became mightily impressed with the need to STAY ON THE PATHS, and do NOT sneak off to try submerging in an unknown hot pot. Those boiling springs are extremely common in Yellowstone and are not always visible.

The Godfather said...

I camped in Yellowstone for several days in 1960. A few observations:

1. Bears. There were a lot of brown/black bears (same bear, different names) in the campsites; they liked the campers' food. If you left them alone and kept your food locked up in your car, you had no problem with them. The biggest risk was taking them so for granted that you'd want to pet them as they walked by, like big black dogs. The park rangers discouraged this. The grizzlies were in the wilderness areas, and if you wanted to hike into those areas (I didn't) the park rangers warned that the grizzlies were VERY dangerous. I can't imagine grizzlies being a tourist draw.

2. Hot springs. (When I was there, Old Faithful was still on time, spouting about once an hour -- 65 minutes as I recall -- less frequently than either Trump or Hillary). It never occurred to me to want to bathe in one of the hot springs. They were exotic, and some were very beautiful, and most of them stank. When we got a snow storm (well, a snow squall anyway) on August 15, my buddy and I got the bright idea of standing in the cloud of warm vapor from one of the hot springs to warm us up -- which it did, but it also soaked us and our clothes, so that as soon as we stepped away from the spring we were colder than before.

3. After 56 years, I still remember that trip as one of the highlights of my life.

Bruce Hayden said...

@Godfather - no, brown and black bears are not the same. Ursus americanus (American Black Bear) vs Ursus arctos (Brown / Grizzly Bears). We have both in NW MT. The black bears come in close to town (and we have had them on the back porch). The browns still stay a bit out, though a FS information officer (who has been in the district for 30+ years) tells of a brown bear "highway" that they keep open, I believe, between the wilderness area 40 miles down river, and the population that ultimately came out of Yellowstone (several hundred miles SE). In any case, they have posters up at the FS campgrounds pointing to the differences. The browns have their distinctive hump, a shovel (broader) face, and longer claws. They are also much more temperamental, and willing to attack humans, even when cubs are not involved. To be a bit cynical, it is a lot easier living around black bears (which I have done on multiple occasions) than around brown bears. So, imagine everyone's surprise when two brown bears were killed 30 miles down river maybe 5 years ago (one by the train, and the other by someone who ended up being tried and acquitted of killing an endangered species - their defense was that they thought that it was a black bear). Turns out that they were problem bears, presumably relocated from one of the national parks, that the feds hadn't bothered to tell anyone about. Your tax dollars at work.

mockturtle said...

Bruce, my late husband and I lived for ten years in the Selkirk mountains in WA state and we also saw both species of bears. Quite a few black bears in our yard and one day a young brown bear came up onto our deck while we were eating lunch. He was wet from swimming across the Pend Oreille River. Lots of moose, too, and we even saw a wolverine once--very rare. I love living around wildlife. :-) Planning another Alaska trip next summer.

My sister and her husband lived near Whitefish, MT, for about twenty years.

Somebody said...

The "forbidden practice of hotpotting"? Does that imply some people get away with it?