Updated: Aug 19, 2022
Yellowstone National Park officials are investigating after a park employee spotted part of a foot, in a shoe, floating in a hot spring in the southern part of the park, officials said Thursday.
Tuesday's discovery at Abyss Pool led to the temporary closure of the West Thumb Geyser Basin and its parking lot. The area has since reopened.
The park did not have any other information about the investigation to make public on Thursday, park spokesperson Morgan Warthin said.
Abyss Pool, located west of the West Thumb of Yellowstone Lake, is 53 feet (16 meters) deep and the temperature is about 140 degrees Fahrenheit (60 Celsius), park officials said. It is on the south side of the southern loop through the park.
In such hot springs, superheated water cools as it reaches the surface, sinks and is replaced by hotter water from below. The circulation prevents the water from reaching the temperature needed to set off an eruption like happens with geysers in the park, according to the park's website.
Update: Yellowstone National Park Facebook Page
Yellowstone National Park incident at Abyss Pool in West Thumb Geyser Basin. Visitors: For your own safety, always stay on boardwalks and trails in thermal areas.
- On Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2022, an employee found part of a foot, in a shoe, floating in Abyss Pool, located in the West Thumb Geyser Basin in the southern part of Yellowstone National Park.
- An investigation by Yellowstone National Park law enforcement officers is ongoing.
- Evidence from the investigation thus far suggests that an incident involving one individual likely occurred on the morning of July 31, 2022, at Abyss Pool. Currently, the park believes there was no foul play. The investigation is continuing to determine the circumstances surrounding the death.
- The West Thumb Geyser Basin and parking lot were temporarily closed to visitors due to the discovery but have since reopened.
- Abyss Pool has a depth of more than 50 feet and is one of the deepest hot springs in the park. Its temperature is approximately 140 degrees F (60 degrees C).
- Visitors are reminded to stay on boardwalks and trails in thermal areas and exercise extreme caution around thermal features. The ground in hydrothermal areas is fragile and thin, and there is scalding water just below the surface. Learn more about safety in thermal areas at go.nps.gov/yellsafety.
- There are no photos of this incident.
More info: go.nps.gov/220819