Tourists at Yellowstone National Park are being barred from areas of the park because the massive underground supervolcano beneath it is melting the asphalt roads.
“It basically turned the asphalt into soup. It turned the gravel road into oatmeal,” Yellowstone spokesman Dan Hottle said. In particular, Hottle said that the road between the park’s most popular attraction, Old Faithful, and Madison Junction has been dangerously compromised.
Park officials also asked tourists not to hike into the affected areas, as the danger of stepping through what appears to be solid soil into boiling-hot water was “high.”
“There are plenty of other great places to see thermal features in the park,” park spokesman Al Nash told The Weather Channel. “I wouldn’t risk personal injury to see these during this temporary closure.”
The road in question was closed to repave (again) because they did a shitty job of repaving. Yellowstone has had a warmer-than-average summer, and that coupled with a higher ground temperature meant that they needed to wait a bit longer before opening the road up for traffic, but they didn’t.
There has always Always ALWAYS been a danger of stepping through thin ground and dying due to boiling water. Forever. Since always. That’s why literally every single piece of park literature and sign says “Do not leave trail, thermal area”. This is nothing new. That’s how geothermal areas work. Hot springs don’t just appear magically, they build up underground, working their way through the rock and silt towards the surface, hence the seemingly solid ground. That’s why there are boardwalks, to keep people safe.
Geothermal areas are dangerous. Whether or not they occur over a volcano, they are dangerous.
Also, don’t write off crappy park service road work as being the “supervolcano’s” fault. It’s not. It’s not going to erupt and kill us all. Not in the near future, anyway.