Yellowstone National Park truly is the world's largest showcase of geological oddities and Roaring Mountain certainly is one of the stars of the show. At this unique scenic area it is easy to realize that the ground that is stood upon actually is a gigantic super volcano, even with the eyes closed! They do not call this the Roaring Mountain for no reason at all and the sound of hissing steam rising from this towering mound of ancient volcanic ash can be heard from over a quarter mile away. In fact, the sound of the steam can be so loud and raspy at times, that it is difficult to even hear the birds chirp. For those who thoroughly enjoy the sounds of geological extremities in a full theater sound system mode, Roaring Mountain is the place to go!
Most of the Yellowstone terrain was created when a gigantic super volcano exploded about 600,000 years ago. The largest portion of this National Park actually is composed of a very wide caldera depression that was the result of this catastrophic event. A massive amount of volcanic ash was deposited on the west side of the caldera and in some places the hardened tuff is as tall as a mountain. The hardness of volcanic tuff compares to plaster or soft mortar cement, so it is subject to atmospheric erosive forces.
Subterranean erosive forces also exist in Yellowstone in the form of underground water aquifers located just above the massive magma plume, which produce superheated steam. Because of the soft nature of volcanic tuff, the steam rises to the ground surface through the cracks and fissures. Where the tuff is piled up as high as a mountain, the superheated steam and volcanic gases literally cut their own tubular passageway through the soft material to create a fumarole. A fumaroles can be likened to a very crude musical instrument and the hills are definitely alive with the sounds of nature at Roaring Mountain!
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