Finale – Yellowstone National Park 1931-32

If you’re just joining us here, please feel free to visit the previous posts leading up to this finale. For the beginning of the story, click here to open Riding the Rails During the Great Depression, click here  to open Dad’s Tour of the West Coast During the Great Depression, click here to open Yellowstone National Park 1931-32, and click here to open Yellowstone National Park 1931-32 Continued. Each link will open in a new tab.

The cards were made by Haynes Picture Shops, Inc., 341 Selby Ave., St. Paul, Minn. and Yellowstone Park, Wyoming.

Click on each Today for additional information. Please enjoy the cards!

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Bears of Yellowstone Park depend largely upon the hotels and lodges for sustenance during the summer season. Although bears boldly invade civilized areas to procure their food, they are far from tame. They should not be fed “by hand”, nor should they be molested.

Today: Bears may be seen in Yellowstone March through November. Yellowstone is one of the only areas south of Canada that still has large grizzly bear populations. In 2007, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced that the Greater Yellowstone Area grizzly bear population segment had recovered sufficient numbers and distribution to be removed from the threatened-species list. In 2009, the delisting ruling was overturned and the population was returned to the threatened-species list; management continues under the 2006 revision of the recovery plan. Grizzly bears are usually seen in the open areas. Look for black bears along the edges of trees in the Lamar and Hayden valleys, or among the trees near Mammoth and Tower.

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Elk Stalled in Snow, Hayden Valley, Yellowstone Park. The latest official estimate of the number of elk, (Wapiti), in the park is given at nearly 20,000. Elk are seen throughout the park at all seasons.

Today: National attention has been focused on Yellowstone’s northern elk winter range since the early 1930s. Scientists and managers then believed that grazing and drought in the early part of the century had reduced the range’s carrying capacity, and that twice as many elk were on the range in 1932 as existed in 1914. From 1935 to 1968, elk, pronghorn, and bison numbers were artificially controlled by shooting or trapping and removal by park rangers. Then in the 1960s, based on new studies that suggested ungulate populations could possibly be self-regulating, elk reductions were discontinued in the park. The belief that elk grazing was damaging to northern range vegetation and that grazing accelerates erosion, although not supported by research data and analysis, has continued to the present. Studies of the northern elk winter range began in the 1960s and revealed no clear evidence of range overuse (Houston 1982). More recent studies conclude that sagebrush grasslands of Yellowstone’s northern winter range are not overgrazed (Singer and Bishop 1990). In fact, plant production was enhanced by ungulate grazing in all but drought years. Protein content of grasses, yearly growth of big sagebrush, and seedling establishment of sagebrush were all enhanced by ungulate grazing. Neither reduction in root biomass nor an increase in dead bunchgrass clumps was observed. However, many questions remain concerning the condition of riparian zones and associated shrubby vegetation; the park hopes to conduct additional studies on aspen and willows and their relationship to ungulates on the northern range.

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Obsidian Cliff, Yellowstone Park, is on the Mammoth-Norris road, 12.3 miles from Mammoth Hot Springs. This volcanic glass brought Indians to the region in the early days for arrowhead material as the pipestone country of Minnesota attracted Indians to its quarries.

TodayObsidian Cliff, 11 miles south of Mammoth Hot Springs, is at the northern end of Beaver Lake in Yellowstone National Park. The cliff forms the eastern wall of a narrow cut in plateau country. At an elevation of nearly 7,400 feet above sea level, the cliff extends for a half mile, rising from 150 to 200 feet above Obsidian Creek and falling gradually away to the north. The upper half is a vertical face of rock; the lower half is composed of loose and broken rocks forming a talus slope. The cliff is the remainder of a flow of lava that erupted onto the earth’s surface and then poured down the plateau.

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Mount Sheridan, elevation 10,250 feet, overlooks Yellowstone Lake which is the largest lake at its elevation, 7,730 feet, on the North American continent. It has a shoreline one hundred miles long.

Today: With a surface area of 132 square miles, Yellowstone Lake is the largest lake at high elevation (i.e., more than 7,000 ft.) in North America. It is a natural lake, situated at 7,733 ft. above sea level. It is roughly 20 miles long and 14 miles wide with 141 miles of shoreline. It is frozen nearly half the year. It freezes in late December or early January and thaws in late May or early June.

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Old Faithful Geyser, Yellowstone Park, as depicted in this picture is one of the typical mid-day eruptions when there is sufficient breeze to waft away from the 150-ft. water column its envelope of steam. These displays occur summer and winter at intervals varying from 65 to 80 minutes.

Today: Old Faithful erupts more frequently than any of the other big geysers, although it is not the largest or most regular geyser in the park. Its average interval between eruptions varies from 60 – 110 minutes. An eruption lasts 1 1/2 to 5 minutes, expels 3,700 – 8,400 gallons (14,000 – 32,000 liters) of boiling water, and reaches heights of 106 – 184 feet (30 – 55m). It was named for its consistent performance by members of the Washburn Expedition in 1870. Although its average interval has lengthened through the years (due to earthquakes and vandalism), Old Faithful is still as spectacular and predictable as it was a century ago.

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(Another view) Old Faithful Geyser, 150 Ft., Yellowstone Park, is not the highest geyser, but it is by far the favorite one. Its eruptions occurring every hour last about four minutes.

TodaySoon, a towering column of water will surge out of the earth as Old Faithful continues its unbroken series of eruptions. Eruptions occur an average of 17 times per day, every day. Because of changes in circulation that resulted from the 1959 Hebgen Lake and 1983 Borah Peak earthquakes, as well as other local and smaller earthquakes, the average interval between eruptions has been lengthening during the last several decades. In the past, Old Faithful displayed two eruptive modes: short duration eruptions followed by a short interval, and a long duration eruption followed by a long interval. However, after a local earthquake in 1998, Old Faithful’s eruptions are more often of the long duration, long interval type.

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Kepler Cascade, Firehole River, Yellowstone Park, is seen shortly after leaving Old Faithful. It is 1.7 miles from Old Faithful, where platforms have been constructed to the edge of the canyon.

Today: This three-tiered cascade drops over 50 feet as the Firehole River flows North. The Kepler Cascades were actually named in 1881 for the 12 year old son of Wyoming’s territorial governor, Kepler Hoyt, who toured the park with his father, Governor John Hoyt.

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Norris Geyser Basin, Yellowstone Park, is most remarkable. Some of its waters deposit brightly colored arsenic minerals — orpiment and realgar, others yellow sulphur and black sulphur globules. Its steam vents are the hottest in the entire region.

Today: Norris Geyser Basin is one of the hottest and most dynamic of Yellowstone’s hydrothermal areas. Many hot springs and fumaroles have temperatures above the boiling point (200°F) here. Water fluctuations and seismic activity often change features.
It’s hard to imagine a setting more volatile than Norris. It is part of one of the world’s largest active volcanoes. And it sits on the intersection of three major faults. One runs from the north; another runs from the west. These two faults intersect with a ring fracture from the Yellowstone Caldera eruption 640,000 years ago. These conditions helped to create this dynamic geyser basin.

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Excelsior Geyser, Yellowstone Park, was at one time the largest geyser known. Its eruptions were 300 feet high, and the width of the water column was equally great. The eruptions were so tremendous that the crater was blown out at one side and it ceased to play in 1890.

TodayExcelsior Geyser, located in Yellowstone’s Midway Geyser Basin, is considered the largest geyser in the world, though now effectively dormant. During its last major eruptions in the 1880s, Excelsior frequently reached a height of 300 feet, creating the dramatic display shown in this early Haynes divided-back postcard. It is believed that the violent eruptions of that period may have caused damage to the sinter lining, allowing gas leakage, and resulting in reduced thermal energy. The only observed eruption since that early time was in 1985 when Excelsior erupted for two days, reaching a height of between 20 and 80 feet. As a hot spring, it discharges more than 4050 gallons of water per minute. Its large deep crater and brilliant blue appearance allow it to remain one of Yellowstone’s popular thermal attractions.  (Source: Carl Schreier, A Field Guide to Yellowstone’s Geysers, Hot Springs and Fumaroles)

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Giant Geyser, Yellowstone Park, is the greatest geyser in the world today in point of height and duration of eruption. It plays 250 feet high for a few moments in the earlier part of each display,and continues for an hour and a half at lesser heights. Its intervals of quiet between eruptions vary from six to fourteen days.

Today: Giant Geyser truly lives up to its name. It is currently the second tallest geyser in the world, only Steamboat Geyser located in Yellowstone’s Norris Geyser Basin is taller. An eruption of Giant can reach 250 feet, last over an hour and put out an estimated one million gallons of water. For comparison, a large Old Faithful eruption reaches about 150 feet, lasts less than 5 minutes (the biggest part lasts less than one minute) and puts out around 10,000 gallons of water. 

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Giant Geyser Cone, Upper Geyser Basin, Yellowstone Park, is the orifice of the highest geyser in the park. It plays 250 feet high at varying intervals — 100 feet higher than Old Faithful Geyser. Its cone with one side gone is today just the same as when it was first discovered.

Today: Giant Geyser was dormant for many years after the energy shift in 1955. Since then, it has slowly become active again. During 1997, its eruptions occurred every 3 – 10 days. This spectacular geyser’s eruptions last about an hour and can reach heights of 180 – 250 feet (55 – 76m). During eruptions small geysers nearby may also erupt.

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Beehive Geyser, 200 Feet, Yellowstone Park, although seldom in eruption is one of the most striking geysers in the park. It plays out of its nozzle-like opening like a giant fire hose with a great roar. Eruptions last 15 minutes.

Today: Beehive Geyser is magnificent. Eruptions usually occur twice each day with displays lasting 4 – 5 minutes. During an eruption, the narrow cone acts like a nozzle, projecting the water column to heights of 130 – 190 ft (40 – 55m). 

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Castle Geyser, 75 Ft., Upper Basin, Yellowstone Park, has one of the most prominent geyser cones in the park, indicative of great antiquity as the geyserite, a silicious deposit, forms extremely slow.

Today: Castle Geyser has the largest cone and may be the oldest of all geysers in the basin. Its eruption pattern has changed considerably throughout its recorded history. Castle is currently erupting about every 10 – 12 hours. A water eruption frequently reaches 90 feet (27m) and lasts about 20 minutes. The water phase is followed by a noisy steam phase lasting 30 – 40 minutes.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this nostalgic Yellowstone tour!

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13 comments on “Finale – Yellowstone National Park 1931-32

  1. Great series of posts–the combination of historic postcards and commentary. Truly, terrific family history.

  2. Flora Poste says:

    Hi Linda, Lovely, lovely posts and indeed so nice with postcards!
    I had to smile at the comment to not feed the bears by hand! They look too cute, right? It also reminded of a leaflet handed to me in a park in Pennsylvania on how to tell the difference between an poisonous and non-poisonous snake by a line under their eye….as if you would the time to examine;0) Should have saved and send to you!
    Thanks again, Johanna.

    • Thanks, Johanna. I remember my Dad saying that early on the bears roamed a lot freer. People took care of that. They would actually try to feed the bears and I guess some people were injured and/or killed so they had to move the bears back. Now, your snake info is funny. If anybody thinks I’m going to take the time to examine a snake’s face without a shield of glass between us, they can think again!

  3. Sheryl says:

    I really enjoyed this post. The old postcards are delightful, and it was fun to read the current information. Wonderful research!

  4. gpcox says:

    I absolutely adore all of the postcards. It’s great they are for eternity. (Surprisingly, your e-mail got thru (most everything that is not wordpress ends up getting spammed) and it is great. I have written down the address for when I get back to that area. Thank you.

  5. cindy knoke says:

    Love, love , love this series of yours. Bravo~

  6. cynt5525 says:

    Thank You for liking my Drawing!!! I love your blog!!*Cynthia

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