Human foot found floating in Yellowstone hot spring
On Tuesday, August 16, 2022, a park employee found a foot in a shoe floating in Abyss Pool, located in the West Thumb Geyser Basin in the southern portion of Yellowstone National Park. It is believed to have disarticulated due to submerged decomposition.
According to a statement posted on the park’s website, evidence suggests an incident involving a person likely occurred on the morning of July 31. person fell into the pool and was killed by the high water temperatures.
Abyss Pool is over 15 meters deep and is one of the deepest hot springs in the park. Its temperature is around 60 degrees Celsius.
Water in pools fed by geothermal springs can exceed boiling temperature and dissolved minerals can alter water chemistry, producing highly corrosive liquids. In 2016, 23-year-old Colin Nathaniel Scott, visiting Norris Geyser Basin – one of Yellowstone’s hottest, oldest and fastest growing hot spring areas – decided to venture off the boardwalk, when he slipped and fell into boiling water. Rescuers were unable to retrieve him due to a thunderstorm, believing he died shortly after falling into the pool. When they returned the next day, the corrosive water had dissolved the whole body.
Two types of corrosive springs can be found in Yellowstone. Acid sulphate hot springs, with a pH below 7, are clustered in the western areas of the park. Alkaline sources of calcium carbonate and chloride, with a pH above 7, can be found throughout the park. Norris Geyser Basin is characterized by steam-heated, highly acidic sulfate springs with a pH of 3. Abyss Pool is one of the park’s alkaline pools, with a pH of 8-9.
Since 1872, when Yellowstone became a park, hot springs and geyser eruptions have claimed the lives of 19 people.