Skip to main content

Road melts at Yellowstone National Park

By Katia Hetter, CNN
July 16, 2014 -- Updated 0159 GMT (0959 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Yellowstone sits on top of one of the world's largest volcanoes
  • Extreme heat from the volcano's thermal areas damaged the popular road
  • No volcanic eruption is expected for 1,000 years or more

(CNN) -- The road was melting.

Extreme heat from thermal features at Yellowstone National Park, created by the active volcano below the park, caused oil to bubble on a road surface on July 9 and damage it.

A road in Yellowstone National Park simmers in the heat of underground thermal features.
A road in Yellowstone National Park simmers in the heat of underground thermal features.

Park crews had to close and repair the 3.3-mile loop road that takes visitors past White Dome Geyser, Great Fountain Geyser and Firehole Lake.

Yellowstone National Park was the nation's first national park, established by the U.S. Congress and signed into law by President Ulysses S. Grant on March 1, 1872. It's predominantly in Wyoming but also touches Idaho and Montana. Check in next week for Arches National Park. Yellowstone National Park was the nation's first national park, established by the U.S. Congress and signed into law by President Ulysses S. Grant on March 1, 1872. It's predominantly in Wyoming but also touches Idaho and Montana. Check in next week for Arches National Park.
Yellowstone: Our first national park
HIDE CAPTION
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
>
>>
Yellowstone: Our first national park Yellowstone: Our first national park
Road melts at Yellowstone National Park

Blame it on the Yellowstone Volcano.

Yellowstone National Park -- a UNESCO World Heritage Site -- sits atop one of the world's largest volcanoes, and some of the thermal spots have damaged the popular Firehole Lake Drive. The park features over 10,000 thermal spots, about half the world's known thermal spots.

Yellowstone: One of the first UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Although the volcano is active -- evidenced by the thermal features and 1,000 to 3,000 earthquakes annually -- park officials don't expect a catastrophic eruption anytime in the next 1,000 or even 10,000 years.

Yellowstone's first supervolcanic eruption occurred 2.1 million years ago, and there were other Yellowstone supereruptions 1.3 million and 640,000 years ago.

The park has instruments monitoring the volcano throughout the park, and there would be plenty of warning -- weeks or even months -- if an eruption were going to occur.

In the meantime, enjoy the park! Maintenance crews quickly repaired the road, and it was reopened to visitors Saturday.

Summer in the park at Yellowstone

Part of complete coverage on
Science news
August 4, 2014 -- Updated 1656 GMT (0056 HKT)
Nichelle Nichols has spent her whole life going where no one has gone before, and at 81 she's still as sassy and straight-talking as you'd expect from an interstellar explorer.
July 22, 2014 -- Updated 1152 GMT (1952 HKT)
The world's largest flying aquatic insect, with huge, nightmarish pincers, has been discovered in China's Sichuan province.
June 23, 2014 -- Updated 1210 GMT (2010 HKT)
As fans of "Grey's Anatomy," "ER" and any other hospital-based show can tell you, emergency-room doctors are fighting against time.
May 29, 2014 -- Updated 1159 GMT (1959 HKT)
Ask 100 robotics scientists why they're inspired to create modern-day automatons and you may get 100 different answers.
June 13, 2014 -- Updated 1635 GMT (0035 HKT)
From the air, the Namibian desert looks like it has a bad case of chicken pox.
May 28, 2014 -- Updated 1643 GMT (0043 HKT)
The trend for nature-inspired designs has spread across industries from crab-style deep-sea vessels to insect-inspired buildings.
May 25, 2014 -- Updated 1222 GMT (2022 HKT)
Consider it the taxonomist's equivalent of a People magazine's Most Beautiful List.
May 9, 2014 -- Updated 1532 GMT (2332 HKT)
For the first time, scientists have shown it is possible to alter the biological alphabet and still have a living organism that passes on the genetic information.
May 5, 2014 -- Updated 1148 GMT (1948 HKT)
Do we really want to go the route of "Jurassic Park"?
May 2, 2014 -- Updated 1244 GMT (2044 HKT)
Catch a train from the sky! Perhaps in the future, the high-rise superstructures could help revolutionize the way we travel.
May 5, 2014 -- Updated 1458 GMT (2258 HKT)
In a nondescript hotel ballroom last month at the South by Southwest Interactive festival, Andras Forgacs offered a rare glimpse at the sci-fi future of food.
March 20, 2014 -- Updated 1412 GMT (2212 HKT)
For a Tyrannosaurus rex looking for a snack, nothing might have tasted quite like the "chicken from hell."
March 14, 2014 -- Updated 2229 GMT (0629 HKT)
Everyone is familiar with Tyrannosaurus rex, but humanity is only now meeting its much smaller Arctic cousin.
March 6, 2014 -- Updated 1712 GMT (0112 HKT)
At about 33 feet long, weighing 4 to 5 tons and baring large blade-shaped teeth, the dinosaur Torvosaurus gurneyi was a formidable creature.
February 21, 2014 -- Updated 1143 GMT (1943 HKT)
This Pachyrhinosaurus can go to the head of its class.
March 27, 2014 -- Updated 1204 GMT (2004 HKT)
Science is still trying to work out how exactly we reason through moral problems, and how we judge others on the morality of their actions. But patterns are emerging.
February 28, 2014 -- Updated 0006 GMT (0806 HKT)
A promising way to stop a deadly disease, or an uncomfortable step toward what one leading ethicist called eugenics?
February 15, 2014 -- Updated 0107 GMT (0907 HKT)
Seattle paleontologists safely removed the largest fossilized mammoth tusk discovered in the region from a construction site.
April 23, 2013 -- Updated 1013 GMT (1813 HKT)
A mysterious, circular structure, with a diameter greater than the length of a Boeing 747 jet, has been discovered submerged about 30 feet underneath the Sea of Galilee in Israel.
January 17, 2014 -- Updated 2225 GMT (0625 HKT)
Every corner of the planet offers some sort of natural peculiarity with an explanation that makes us wish we'd studied harder in junior high Earth science class.
November 14, 2013 -- Updated 1320 GMT (2120 HKT)
Deep in a remote, hot, dry patch of northwestern Australia lies one of the earliest detectable signs of life on the planet, tracing back nearly 3.5 billion years, scientists say.
September 4, 2013 -- Updated 1910 GMT (0310 HKT)
We leave genetic traces of ourselves wherever we go -- in a strand of hair left on the subway or in saliva on the side of a glass at a cafe.
ADVERTISEMENT