News Release

Yellowstone National Park incident at Abyss Pool, West Thumb Geyser Basin; Visitors: For your own safety, stay on boardwalks and trails in thermal areas

Abyss Pool at West Thumb Geyser Basin
Abyss Pool at West Thumb Geyser Basin

NPS / Diane Renkin

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News Release Date: August 19, 2022

Contact: Morgan Warthin, (307) 344-2015

  • On Tuesday, August 16, 2022, an employee found part of a foot, in a shoe, floating in Abyss Pool, located in the West Thumb Geyser Basin in the southern part of Yellowstone National Park.
  • An investigation by Yellowstone National Park law enforcement officers is ongoing.
  • Evidence from the investigation thus far suggests that an incident involving one individual likely occurred on the morning of July 31, 2022, at Abyss Pool. Currently, the park believes there was no foul play. The investigation is continuing to determine the circumstances surrounding the death.
  • The West Thumb Geyser Basin and parking lot were temporarily closed to visitors due to the discovery but have since reopened.
  • Abyss Pool has a depth of more than 50 feet and is one of the deepest hot springs in the park. Its temperature is approximately 140 degrees F (60 degrees C).
  • Visitors are reminded to stay on boardwalks and trails in thermal areas and exercise extreme caution around thermal features. The ground in hydrothermal areas is fragile and thin, and there is scalding water just below the surface. Learn more about safety in thermal areas at go.nps.gov/yellsafety.
  • There are no photos of this incident. Photos of West Thumb Geyser Basin can be found on Yellowstone’s Flickr.
  • The park has no additional information to share about this incident.


Additional Information

Known Recent Thermal Injuries in Yellowstone

  • Oct. 5, 2021, news release: A 20-year-old woman from Washington suffered significant thermal burns when rescuing her dog from Maiden’s Grave Spring in the vicinity of Fountain Flat Drive south of Madison Junction. The dog passed away, and the woman was transported to the burn center at Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center.
  • Sept. 16, 2021, news release: A 19-year-old woman from Rhode Island suffered thermal burns in the Old Faithful area.

Known Recent Thermal Fatalities in Yellowstone

  • June 8, 2016, news release: A man in his early 20’s walked off the designated boardwalk, slipped, and fell into a hot spring at the Norris Geyser Basin.
  • August 2000: One person died from falling into a hot spring in the Lower Geyser Basin.



Last updated: August 19, 2022

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