Unravelling the Natural Marvels of Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park embodies many of our planet’s most timeless marvels.

Declared as the first-ever national park on March 1, 1872, approximately 90% of Yellowstone National Park is located within the state of Wyoming. The other 3% is within Montana, and the remaining 1% falls into Idaho. The park is 110 km north to south and 87 km west to east.

Just one of the endless wonders within the park is the presence of historically rare rocks from the Precambrian era. The formation of these rocks dates back 4.6 billion years! The ancient rocks are found in northern Yellowstone as well as in the hearts of the nearby Teton, Beartooth, Wind River and Gros Ventre mountain ranges. 

The last 66 million years, known as the Cenozoic era, marked widespread mountain formation, volcanism and glacier creation in the Yellowstone area. The park’s north and east sides are referred to as the Absaroka Range, which was formed as a result of volcanic eruptions that occurred over 50 million years ago!

The Super Volcano Yellowstone Caldera

Today, there is a super volcano known as the ‘Yellowstone Caldera’ within Yellowstone National Park that is considered dormant. It has erupted several times in the last 2 million years. It is as a result of this ongoing volcanism, that half of the world’s geysers and hydrothermal features are in the Yellowstone area. Geologists are consistently monitoring its pulse for clues hinting to the timeline of its eventual eruption. 

Findings suggest that it will likely not erupt in the next hundred years, but it will probably erupt within the next thousand to million years (phew! This is a relief for us…but unfortunately not for the generations to come!). However, it is highly likely that there will be lava flows that are expected to ooze slowly over many months and years that may begin at any time. Luckily, lava flows are reportedly not dangerous to the public.

Yellowstone’s Hydrothermal Systems

Yellowstone’s hydrothermal systems are the visible expression of the super volcano Caldera. The park preserves natural hot springs, geysers, mudpoth and fumaroles. 

Home to so many diverse organisms, the hydrothermal features embody trillions of microorganisms that thrive within the near-boiling temperatures. It is in this alkalinity which is akin to baking soda, mixed in with such extreme acidity, that these ‘extremophiles’ group together to paint the volcanic masses the iridescent colours that we see today.

Yellowstone National Park comprises majestic canyons, rivers and mountain ranges, all of which are a sight never to be forgotten. Yellowstone Lake is well known for being one of the highest-elevated Lakes in North America, as it centres over the Yellowstone Caldera.

Introducing ‘Epic Yellowstone’, the Docuseries

In a park full of natural wonders, the super volcano Caldera and resulting hydrothermal systems are merely one aspect of its rich ecological diversity. 

Starring the courageous Bill Pullman, the first season of ‘Epic Yellowstone’ takes viewers on a journey through resplendent footage of the famed Yellowstone National Park in just 4 episodes.

In March of 2019, the series aired for the first time on the Smithsonian Channel. 

The action-packed, educational docuseries was made by Director/ Producer Tom Winston and his team at Grizzly Creek Films.

A Brief Recap of Each Episode

Through emotionally-charged melodies, never-before-seen panoramas and cinematography that speaks volumes through visuals alone, ‘Epic Yellowstone’ illustrates the slow and steady restoration of the imbalance that resulted from the loss of many of the ecosystems top predators within the last quarter century.

The first season opens with a bang, presenting “Fire and Ice” to dazzle audiences. 

Pullman is spotlighted as he fearlessly explores rivers warmed by geothermal springs and undertakes journeys through vast fields of snow. 

The challenges faced by the park's animal inhabitants are illuminated as viewers witness creatures evolving to survive in spite of the park’s extreme conditions.

The second episode ‘Return of the Predators’ celebrates the reintroduction of gray wolves and grizzly bears in 1995, fifty-years after being eliminated from the park. It is now estimated that over 700 grizzly bears and over 100 gray wolves live in the Yellowstone area!

The third episode, ‘Life on the Wing’ hones in on the aerial residents of the Yellowstone area. Osprey and Sandhill Crane's parents are seen working tirelessly to help their babies survive. Dragonflies are seen in a breath-taking slow-motion depiction of the survival skills they exemplify to catch their prey.

The docuseries winds down with ‘Down the River Wild’, a final episode which magnificently portrays that both humans and animals depend on the Yellowstone River for continued sustenance.

The Sound Design of the Docuseries

Sound designer Brian Eimer worked with producer Tom Winston to establish the authenticity of this docuseries.

Eimer discovered a vast collection of authentic sounds from Yellowstone National Park recorded over several years by the University of Montana. All sounds of the geysers, various bird species and animals that live in the park are real. The University of Montana's sound recording efforts reflect the desire to preserve the unique environment of Yellowstone for future generations.

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology has a vast library of bird calls that Eimer utilized to ensure the sounds of each species are accurate. The natural sounds of this docuseries further invites audiences to experience the majestic park through a fully immersive sound design.

Nomination Announcement for ‘Epic Yellowstone’

Along with the sound effects editors Micheal Bonini and Robynne Trueman, foley editor Michael Le, and foley artist Guy Francoeur, ImagesInSound’s sound designer Brian Eimer is happy to announce that their team was nominated for the Motion Picture Sound Editors Golden Reel Award in the category of Non-theatrical Documentary.

Congratulations to the entire team! This nomination is truly an honourable achievement. We must extend our deepest gratitude to everyone that had a hand in crafting the sound design for this captivating docuseries.


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