The Norris Geyser Basin is more prone to change than any of the other basins. Ranger Beth will tell you more in this short video.
Duration: 2 minutes 7 seconds
- Credit / Author:
- Written & Presented by Park Ranger Beth Taylor
- Date created:
Norris Geyser Basin, named for the park’s second superintendent, is one of the most intriguing places in Yellowstone. It’s rich in history, the site of a National Historic Landmark, one of the park’s original trailside museums. The Norris Geyser Basin Museum isn’t the only old thing around Norris. Norris is home to ancient hydrothermal features—some hot springs may be 115,000 years old, possibly the oldest springs in the park!
But what makes Norris Geyser Basin so captivating is that the features here are some of the hottest and most acidic around. You will smell the odor of sulfur as you approach and through the steam you will find hissing fumeroles, splashing geysers and beautiful clear pools as well as murky, muddy, cloudy ones. Minerals and microbes decorate the features with brilliant colors of orange, yellow, rust and green.
At Norris you’ll find Steamboat Geyser, the tallest geyser in the world, which during major eruptions, blows water and steam 300 feet into the air with a thundering roar. Norris is also home Echinus geyser, the largest acidic geyser in the world. Acid geysers are rare and Norris boasts more than anywhere else on earth.
Hottest, oldest, most acidic…Norris is full of superlatives. But the caption under the geyser basin’s photo should read “Most Likely to Change.” Norris is one of the most dynamic places in the park with features changing constantly. Situated along two faults and the ring fractures of the most recent caldera, the excessive seismic activity at Norris contributes to quick dramatic changes in temperature, color, water level, pH, and activity of the features here. Sometimes overnight new features form, dormant geysers begin to erupt, hot springs turn into geysers or fumeroles.
As you experience the sights, sounds and smells of Norris by walking two miles through the basin, be careful to stay on the boardwalks and trails as this is one of the most dangerously hot, acidic areas in the park with features constantly changing. Join a ranger-led walk in the summer months to learn the latest fascinating findings. Return often, as it is always different.
A brief history of how soldiers and rangers have protected Yellowstone National Park.
Duration: 2 minutes 20 seconds
- Credit / Author:
- Written & Presented by Park Ranger George Heinz
- Date created:
On August 13, 1886, Special Order #79 was received from Fort Custer, Montana Territory. The next day, Captain Moses Harris and 50 men from Company M, First United States Cavalry began a march toward Yellowstone National Park which was just 14 years old. On August 20th of that year, the U.S. Army took over management of our first national park.
Within days, detachments were stationed at several “soldier stations,” that had housed civilian Assistant Superintendents prior to the army’s arrival. One of those, the Norris Civilian Administration Building, was located in this area.
That first station was replaced in 1887 by a building that burned in February 1908. The log structure we see today was built during the summer of 1908. The buildings design with porches and dormer windows reflect the style of those times.
I like to think about what this place would have been like. The park’s main road came right through here, with a bridge over the Gibbon River. There would’ve been barns and stables uphill, near where the campground is today. Over the years, different hotels and tent camps were built on the opposite side of the river.
After the National Park Service was formed on August 25, 1916, park rangers continued to use this building as a ranger station. On August 25, 1991 the Norris Soldier Station became the home of the Museum of the National Park Ranger.
With 390 different units and 79 million acres in the National Park System, rangers are as diverse as the places we protect. Men and women from all backgrounds work as interpreters, scientists, fire fighters and police, as well as in other fields; all park rangers.
The Museum of the National Park Ranger is staffed in summer by retired park rangers. These volunteers spend a couple of weeks sharing their time and the stories of what it was like working as a ranger. This place makes me proud to wear a flat-hat and we should all be proud of protecting this small piece of our heritage.