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So many items had been thrown into Morning Glory Pool that it was called the garbage can” by park staff in the 1950s. Although it was cleaned out several times (above right), the spring’s temperature changed due to materials blocking its vent.

increased visitation (Condon n.d.). Marler’s strong sentiments are due in part to his responsibility for cleaning debris out of thermal features in 1946, when he twice removed rocks weigh- ing more than 40 lbs from the vent of Turban Geyser. In 1947, he reported hauling 55 wheelbarrows full of rocks and debris from springs and geysers in addition to a large tree from Emer- ald Pool, stating that “the culprits had resorted to considerable labor to drag this tree to the pool and shove it in.”

Superintendent Fred Johnston tried to prevent vandal- ism by educating the public. He submitted Chief Naturalist David Condon’s essay, “Invaluable Natural Assets in Yellow- stone National Park Suffer from Vandalistic Acts” to the park’s regional director, urging publication in the mass media. Con- don described how even one pebble tossed into a spring or geyser, when multiplied by hundreds or thousands, can cause permanent damage or complete destruction of geysers and springs.

bination of both factors.

Minute Geyser in Norris Geyser Basin may be the most vandalized geyser within the park. During the late nineteenth century, it erupted once per minute, sometimes up to 40 ft high. A stagecoach stop located there sometime later encour- aged passengers to throw coins and other items into the vent (Whittlesey 1988). When new roads were constructed, Minute Geyser remained relatively close to the main access road and was continually vandalized. In 1935, a park naturalist noted “I found about 10 boulders ranging up to the size of a man’s head, almost completely filling the smaller of the two openings.” By 1969 the vent was clogged with rocks that were cemented in place by the spring’s mineral waters (White et al. 1988), caus- ing the geyser’s eruptive activity to shift to a side vent. Minute Geyser’s activity became irregular and it erupted only a few feet. Another Norris Basin feature, Ebony Geyser, also became

Despite the efforts of park management, numerous fea- tures have been damaged by vandalism. Morning Glory Pool, in the Upper Geyser Basin, is perhaps the most notorious dam- aged feature within the park. Before the highway was diverted away from Morning Glory in 1971, its easy access and high popularity caused the spring to be the receptacle for large quantities of objects, including coins, rocks, logs, bottles, and clothing. Many efforts were made to remove items from the spring, but the continual addition of material clogged the vent, perhaps enough to lower the spring’s temperature and allow the growth of algae. The color of the pool changed to a deeper blue because of bacterial growth, and its scalloped edges were destroyed (Bryan 1995, Whittlesey 1988). Yellowstone Park Geologist Henry Heasler (2008) notes that the temperature of Beauty and Chromatic Pools (located in the same general area as Morning Glory) also dropped, but as a result of natural causes. As such, it is unclear whether the temperature change in Morning Glory was natural, a result of vandalism, or a com-

debris removed from Morning Glory Pool, 1950.

ellowstone Science

17(1) • 2009


NPS, YNP, Yell 33162

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