Yellowstone National Park is famous for very many reasons. Founded by Ulysses S. Grant on March 1st, 1872, it was the first national park on Earth. Its phenomena were appreciated years before that, however. The first human inhabitants were Native Americans, living there for thousands of years. Sacajawea, a Shoshone famously known for guiding the Lewis and Clark expedition of 1804 through Yellowstone, was one of many Native Americans who cherished the very unique geysers in the park. Fun fact: there are more geysers and hot springs in Yellowstone than anywhere else in the world combined (http://www.yellowstoneparknet.com/history_museums/first_national_park.php).
The reason geysers occur is because of the “hot spot” underneath parts of Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho – the mass of lava that tunnels through the Earth’s crust. It heats the water above, a creating geysers like Old Faithful, which by the way, can reach up to 180 vertical feet.
The geysers are not the only attraction, however – there are plenty of other reasons to visit Yellowstone. Yellowstone Falls, Yellowstone River, the Firehole River, and Yellowstone Lake are very beautiful. Firehole River is especially interesting because it is partially heated by the lava in the hot spot. It is comfortably swimmable (during the summer, that is). Another reason that is has exceeded 139,520,118 tourists (http://www.yellowstone-natl-park.com/stats.htm) from the year it opened until now is the wildlife. Thousands of buffalo thunder through the plains, and elk and deer are seen everywhere. Black bears and grizzly bears are often seen as well. Wolves are less commonly seen due to the fact that they were exterminated from the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Yellowstone was devoid of them for nearly 100 years. This brought an onslaught of environmental issues, which is why the wolf was reintroduced into Yellowstone in 1995.
Wolves may be elusive, but perhaps the biggest mystery of Yellowstone is when the supervolcano will explode. If it does, a foot of ash will cover the streets of London, and the earth will go through an ice age due to all the ash blocking the sun’s rays. Everyone within 1,000 feet of the volcano will be knocked off their feet (www.natgeo.com). Those may even be understatements, because scientists are realizing that the supervolcano may be bigger than previously thought. Mini earthquakes happen all the time in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, and those may be signals of an eruption soon to occur. That being said, “soon” when talking about a volcano could be 10 years or 500 years. The last eruption to happen was around 640,000 years ago.