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Red Spouter EarthCache

Hidden : 08/10/2010
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Geocache Description:

The coordinates will take you to a NPS informational panel along the Fountain Paint Pots trail in Yellowstone NP. There is a $25 entrance fee valid for 7 days which can be used for both Yellowstone and Grand Tetons NPs. It is 1/3 of a mile from the parking lot to get to Red Spouter. This earthcache is meant to teach about the origins and phases of Red Spouter.

Red Spouter originated from the 1959 Hebgen Lake Earthquake. The Hebgen Lake Earthquake measured 7.3 on the Richter Scale at its epicenter; it is the most powerful quake to strike the area in recorded history. For more information on the earthquake, visit this earthcache: The 1959 Earthquake.

Unlike other nearby thermal features, Red Spouter constantly changes with the seasons, which is why Red Spouter is called Red Spouter and not Red Fumarole or Red Mudpot: it changes depending on the season. The reason Red Spouter changes is it's on top of a platform, which means it can't access the underground water table like the nearby geysers.

It's not a fulltime mudpot because sulfuric acid hasn't accumulated because of its age and seasonal changes, it's not a fulltime hot spring because it doesn't have year-round access to the water table, and it's not a fulltime fumarole because sometimes it does have access to the water table and fills up. If there is a lot of water in Red Spouter, then Red Spouter is a hot spring, if there is little water, Red Spouter is a mudpot, and if there is no water, Red Spouter is fumarole.

The three different phases of Red Spouter:

  1. Hot Spring: a spring of water heated by geothermal energy.
  2. Mudpot: a hot spring consisting of a pool of usually bubbling mud.
  3. Fumarole: an opening in Earth's crust which emits steam and gases such as carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, hydrochloric acid, and hydrogen sulfide; also referred to as a solfatara.

Logging requirements:

Send me an email with answers to these questions:

1. According to the sign at the given coordinates, what would you be looking at on August 17, 1959?
2. According to the sign, how far away was the Hebgen Lake Earthquake?
3. Give me the seasons for the following phases of Red Spouter:
  • Hot Spring
  • Mudpot
  • Fumarole

Please Note:

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

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