Lassen Fumaroles and Mudpots in Action

While photographs are sufficient to capture the grandeur of the volcanic peaks and scenic valleys of Lassen Volcanic National Park, active hydrothermal elements are better understood on video.

These dynamic features are the result of groundwater that seeps down near magma and hot rocks well below the surface. The water becomes superheated and rises, transporting volcanic gasses and dissolved minerals along the way. At the surface the sudden decrease in pressure results in it turning to steam, releasing the foul-smelling sulfur compounds and colorful minerals that stain the ground.

In some places this superheated water bubbles up through puddles and ponds at the surface, creating acidic and scalding mudpots. These features are enough of a hazard that there are signs warning visitors not to walk through these areas. In the past people have fallen through the thin crust surrounding these pools and received third-degree burns from the boiling water hidden beneath.

Hydrothermal features like these are scattered across the globe. Within the US they can also be found at Yellowstone National Park, and I wrote about a particularly large fumarole at Yangmingshan National Park in Taiwan last December. If you ever find yourself near a place with hydrothermal activity, these exciting areas are worth seeing in person.


About Jeremy Sell

Science and nature nerd.
This entry was posted in Geology, National Parks and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Lassen Fumaroles and Mudpots in Action

  1. Great to include the video clips


  2. I lived in Oregon for a while, but unfortunately, didn’t get up to Lassen. Seeing these photos and videos make me sorry that I didn’t. Maybe next time. Thanks for the post. ~James


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s