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Geothermal Heat Melting Road Surface Of Firehole Lake Drive In Yellowstone National Park

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Firehole Lake Drive has been temporarily closed due to road surface damage caused by underground heat/NPS

Yellowstone National Park's underground "furnace" is causing problems for Firehole Lake Drive, where the heat from below is melting the asphalt.

The 3.3-mile-long loop drive, which leads past Great Fountain Geyser, White Dome Geyser, and Firehole Lake has been temporarily closed as a result of the damage while park crews assess what repairs are needed.

"Extreme heat from surrounding thermal areas has caused thick oil to bubble to the surface, damaging the blacktop and creating unsafe driving conditions on the popular, scenic road, located off the Grand Loop Road halfway between Old Faithful and Madison Junction in the park'™s Lower Geyser Basin," a park release issued Thursday read. "The road will remain closed for the next several days while maintenance crews make repairs. The date for reopening the road is uncertain at this time, and will be determined after crews assess the effectiveness of their efforts.

Updated Yellowstone road information is available 24 hours a day by calling 307-344-2117 or by visiting this website.

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Geothermal heat has caused melting of the asphalt surface of Firehole Lake Drive/NPS


Gary, I think you have a valid point on the the Firehole Drive issue. I have also thought how important it was for so many people, beginning with president Lincoln in 1864, to be looking ahead on the positive things that can be done not only for the environment but on so many other issues as well. We cannot change whatever natural processes might occur, but we can make a huge difference in our daily lives on those issues that we have some control over.  Thank you for your efforts on behalf of the parks. 

Wow, someone is putting words in my mouth.  Coorelating removing a road that is being disintegrated in a well known geothermal hot spot to wishing for mankind to be wiped off the planet is a bit of a stretch.  I do have many friends in Idaho, and Montana, and dont want to see them perish in a catastrophic explosion..

Isn't Yellowstone supposed to explode every 400,000 years or so?  Hopefully the next one won't happen while we're here.

I agree, Mr. Mackie. My problem is with those who feel that since the end of the universe is inevitable that they don't have to worry about picking up their cigarette butts or what their carbon footprint is along the way. Being a good neighbor and traveling companion in this fatalistic handbasket to hell some are describing is simply good manners.

but do so with some restraint

Yes, but only for the purpose of improving our ride, not for the fairy tale belief that we are making a perpetual difference. 

EC, pretty profound comment. Probably true, I agree except part of our responsibility, in my own humble opinion, is to not only enjoy, but do so with some restraint, concern for what we can do and a lot of generous good will toward all living things. This may sound a little out in left field, what the heck, but it is important to to try to make a positive difference. 

It does appear that Yellowstone's underground furance system is trying to tell us something.

Yes, it is telling us that man is insignficant in the scheme of nature and the universe.  Some day Gary will get his wish and a catastrophic event (short or long term) will wipe man off the face of planet - and there is nothing we can do about it.  In the meantime, I intend to enjoy my ride of this rock.

Actually, it's not at all uncommon for thermal activity to break through roads or parking lots or affect them in various ways.  The usual solution is to wait awhile and then repave often after having added some fill dirt as insulation.

It's things like this that help make management of Yellowstone especially interesting and challenging.

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