Fountain Paint Pots are part of Lower Geyser Basin in the Firehole River Drainage. They are what is referred to as mudpots, which form when there is not enough water to support a geyser or hot spring. Did you notice that on your way to the paintpots, you went slightly uphill? That’s because they are on a raised platform, meaning they can’t as easily access the underground water table as the geysers to the west.
The formation of mudpots is caused by the following:
1. The underground magma chamber of the Yellowstone volcano heats up the underground water, causing it to boil.
2. The boiling water rises through the cracks in the rhyolite and emerges at the surface.
3. Heat loving thermophiles in the water then convert some of the gases in the water to sulfuric acid.
4. The shortage of water allows the sulfuric acid to accumulate which, over time, breaks down the rhyolite into a clay called kaolinite.
5. Minerals in the water (such as iron) change the color of the clay because of the bubbling action of the paintpots.
Send me an email with answers to these questions:
1. According to the sign at the given coordinates, what was Fountain Paint Pots originally called, and when was its name changed?
2. According to the sign, what are the 6 ingredients for mudpots?
3. How runny/sticky was Fountain Paint Pots during your visit? How does that correspond with the season you visited them in?
1. You must answer all the questions in your email to me.
2. Your logging this cache and sending me the email should happen at around the same time.
3. Begin your email with the name and geocaching code of this Earthcache, your name(s), and the number of people in your group.
Failure to comply with the above will result in your log being deleted!
The above information was compiled from the following sources:
- Fritz, William J., Roadside Geology of the Yellowstone Country, Mountain Press Publishing Company, May 1989.
- NPS Informational Panel
Placement approved by
Yellowstone National Park