Sur­viv­ing on a su­per vol­cano

De­spite the risks of liv­ing on a vol­cano, there are some sur­pris­ing ben­e­fits to set­ting up home in a geo­ther­mal area

World of Animals - - The Wildlife Of Yel­low­stone Na­tional Park -

As well as its iconic wildlife, Yel­low­stone Na­tional Park is also fa­mous for sit­ting on top of the world’s largest su­per vol­cano. This is the rea­son for the huge num­ber of geo­ther­mal fea­tures across the park, in­clud­ing large ar­eas of hot springs and over half of the world’s gey­sers. Although the vol­cano it­self hasn’t had a full-scale erup­tion for 640,000 years, it is pre­dicted that any fu­ture erup­tions could cause dev­as­ta­tion to wildlife glob­ally. Sit­ting on the North Amer­i­can tec­tonic plate also means that the park ex­pe­ri­ences reg­u­lar earth­quakes, of­ten over 2,000 a year.

De­spite the dan­gers, there are also some ad­van­tages for wildlife liv­ing in a geother­mic area. The steam and un­der­ground heat from hot springs and gey­sers in­creases lo­cal air and soil tem­per­a­tures, which means the sur­round­ing ar­eas of­ten have more veg­e­ta­tion growth. The warm ground also means less snow in win­ter, so large mam­mals are of­ten at­tracted to these ar­eas in harsh weather con­di­tions. Some in­ver­te­brates, such as species of dam­sel­flies and cad­dis­flies, also par­tic­u­larly en­joy life in the warm rivers. Even the hottest acid pools are filled with life, with their exotic colours caused by thermo aci­dophilic bacteria thriv­ing in tem­per­a­tures that can ex­ceed 90 de­grees Cel­sius (194 de­grees Fahren­heit).

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