Letting off Steam
Listen intently for the hiss of steam escaping the mountain. Fumaroles are sometimes barely audible, but sometimes roar as steam rushes upward through narrow vents. during the 1800s, Roaring Mountain was, at times, heard four miles away at Obsidian Cliff.
As hydrogen sulfide and sulfur gases escape the underworld, yellow sulfur crystals are sometimes left where gases mix with air. Sulfur-eating thermophiles may reside at the vents, assisting with the formation of sulfur.
Scientists are discovering the amazing tenacity of life. Because organisms live and prosper in hot, gaseous conditions on Earth, perhaps even extreme environments of other worlds can support life.
A fumarole or steam vent's underground plumbing system is nearly dry. The small amount of heated water in the vent bursts into steam, and is forcefully expelled with other gases.
This exhibit made possible by a generous grant to the Yellowstone Park Foundation from NASA Astrobiology Institute and Lockheed Martin Space Operations.
Location. 44° 46.867′ N, 110° 44.452′ W. Marker is in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, in Park County. Marker is on Grand Loop Road (U.S. 89). Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Yellowstone National Park WY 82190, United States of America.
Other nearby markers.
Categories. • Science & Medicine •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on August 1, 2011, by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland. This page has been viewed 401 times since then. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on August 1, 2011, by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland.