CLOSE

Celebrate 100 Years of National Parks With These Stunning Photos

The National Park Service turns 100 this year (the centennial is technically August 25, but we're blowing up the balloons a little early) and we've gotta say, the many parks under their care are looking pretty incredible for their age. To ring in this year of celebration, we've pored over the Instagram account for the U.S. Department of the Interior to find 21 of the most beautiful shots from National Parks all over the country. Here they are in totally random, not preferential order (we love all our national parks equally). 

1. CANYONLANDS NATIONAL PARK, UTAH

2. GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK, ARIZONA

3. ZION NATIONAL PARK, UTAH

4. CRATER LAKE NATIONAL PARK, OREGON

5. SHENANDOAH NATIONAL PARK, VIRGINIA 

6. ACADIA NATIONAL PARK, MAINE

7. JOSHUA TREE NATIONAL PARK, CALIFORNIA

8. GREAT BASIN NATIONAL PARK, NEVADA 

9. ROCKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK, COLORADO

10. MOUNT RAINIER NATIONAL PARK, WASHINGTON

11. GATES OF THE ARCTIC NATIONAL PARK AND PRESERVE, ALASKA

12. GREAT SMOKY MOUNTAINS NATIONAL PARK, NORTH CAROLINA AND TENNESSEE

13. YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, WYOMING 

14. OLYMPIC NATIONAL PARK, WASHINGTON

15. DRY TORTUGAS NATIONAL PARK, FLORIDA

16. GLACIER NATIONAL PARK, MONTANA

17. BLACK CANYON OF THE GUNNISON NATIONAL PARK, COLORADO

18. GRAND TETON NATIONAL PARK, WYOMING 

19. REDWOOD NATIONAL AND STATE PARKS, CALIFORNIA

20. DEATH VALLEY NATIONAL PARK, CALIFORNIA

21. ISLE ROYALE NATIONAL PARK, MICHIGAN

nextArticle.image_alt|e
iStock
arrow
science
Geological Map Shows the Massive Reservoir Bubbling Beneath Old Faithful
iStock
iStock

Yellowstone National Park is home to rivers, waterfalls, and hot springs, but Old Faithful is easily its most iconic landmark. Every 45 to 125 minutes, visitors gather around the geyser to watch it shoot streams of water reaching up to 100 feet in the air. The punctual show is one of nature’s greatest spectacles, but new research from scientists at the University of Utah suggests that what’s going on at the geyser’s surface is just the tip of the iceberg.

The study, published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, features a map of the geological plumbing system beneath Old Faithful. Geologists have long known that the eruptions are caused by water heated by volcanic rocks beneath the ground reaching the boiling point and bubbling upwards through cracks in the earth. But the place where this water simmers between appearances has remained mysterious to scientists until now.

Using 133 seismometers scattered around Old Faithful and the surrounding area, the researchers were able to record the tiny tremors caused by pressure build-up in the hydrothermal reservoir. Two weeks of gathering data helped them determine just how large the well is. The team found that the web of cracks and fissures beneath Old Faithful is roughly 650 feet in diameter and capable of holding more than 79 million gallons of water. When the geyser erupts, it releases just 8000 gallons. You can get an idea of how the reservoir fits into the surrounding geology from the diagram below.

Geological map of geyser.
Sin-Mei Wu, University of Utah

After making the surprising discovery, the study authors plan to return to the area when park roads close for the winter to conduct further research. Next time, they hope to get even more detailed images of the volatile geology beneath this popular part of Yellowstone.

nextArticle.image_alt|e
iStock
arrow
video
31 Facts About National Parks
iStock
iStock

A little over 100 years ago, President Woodrow Wilson signed the National Park Service into law, ensuring that the country’s most remarkable natural landscapes would be preserved for future generations. Today, national parks are more popular than ever, with millions of visitors passing through the system’s 400-odd properties each year. But even if you’re working to check every national park off your bucket list, you may be unfamiliar with some of these facts. For instance, did you know that Dolly Parton is an official ambassador to Great Smoky Mountains National Park? Or that Yosemite campaigned to host the Winter Olympics in 1932?

That’s just some of the trivia John Green shares in this latest video from Mental Floss on YouTube. You can check out all 31 facts above, then subscribe to our channel if you're still hungry for more brain food.

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios