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Case Study 5. Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming: M. Cooper

Introduction Established in 1872, Yellowstone National Park was America’s first national park. Located in the states of Wyoming, Montana and Idaho, it is home to a large variety of wildlife and to the world’s greatest output of geothermal water (Figure CS5.1). The park covers an area of nearly 9065km2 in the north-west of Wyoming and contains the largest concentration of geothermal features in the world (Rhinehart, 1980), with around 100 different hot springs groups totalling over 10,000 individual thermal features (Bryan, 1986). The distribution of its thermal features is controlled by regional fault systems and the Yellowstone Caldera (Eaton et al, 1975; White et al, 1988). The terraced Mammoth hot springs are an example of the travertine hot spring type, with over 100 hot springs cascading over a number of travertine terraces (Bargar and Muffler, 1975) and are one of the most popular tourist attractions in the park.