Sunday, September 9, 2007

älvdans i Yellowstone

(Title: The dance of the elves in Yellowstone)

When I was a child in Sweden, we were entertained with folklore stories about elves, gnomes, giants, and other mythological creatures. Some people even believed in them. I always loved the elves, which in Sweden are female, fog-like and wispy creatures that dance over meadows at dusk and dawn. If you breath in their fog, you can wish for something dear.

When I was in Yellowstone I was reminded of the Swedish 'älvor' at several occasions. Not only do the hot springs and fumaroles (steam vents) create foggy clouds night and day, but there are also chilly nights perfect for 'älvdans' (dance of the elves) over lakes and meadows. One night when we drove back late to the hotel the road was covered in fog in the moonlight - the steam vents in the geyser basins helped to create low mist that covered all valleys. We had to drive really slow, in case a bison had decided to take a nap on the road, and a car ahead of us actually hit an animal and had to be towed. We were luckier. Here are some steamy, foggy shots to show you the dance of the elves in Yellowstone. Enjoy!

Daytime steam at Grand Prismatic Spring. The orange in the foreground are microbial mats of heat-tolerant microorganisms, among the oldest bacteria on Earth.

Steam vents at Norris geyser basin, early morning. About 3 miles (4 km) under us is molten magma, and you can feel it!

More steam at Norris geyser basin. This place has the hottest geysers and hot springs, many boil all the time.

Early, early morning, before sunset at Mammoth Hot Springs, with terraces of sediments and a hot spring in the background. It was beautiful, mystical and eerie all at the same time.


O.K. said...

Beautiful! There are some negative sides to live in a non-volcanic area of the world, apparently. No hot springs!

LS said...

This is also one of the areas of the US that has the coldest winters - extremely harsh. So imagine the combination of -30 C, snow and boiling hot springs. The bisons usually overwinter close to the hot springs since there is less snow cover there and they can get down to the grass easier.