Geothermal Changes, Physical or Chemical


Travertine Precipitation.

According to the Yellowstone National Park Service (NPS),   the  Mammoth Hot Springs area is continually being shaped by unique geothermal processes. These processes start as  ground water  seeps slowly downward and   comes in contact with hot carbon dioxide filled gases rising from Yellowstone’s magma chamber. The carbon dioxide is then dissolved in the hot water to form a weak carbonic acid solution. This solution then aids in dissolving   limestone as it works its way towards the surface. Once this solution is exposed to  open air, carbon dioxide is released  and a  solid mineral reforms and is  deposited as  Travertine. It is this Travertine that  forms the terraces at Mammoth Hot Springs.

This is a compelling example of  real world phenomena that provides opportunities for debate on chemical versus physical geothermal changes in nature.  Location: Yellowstone National Park.    Author: Karl Spencer.