Yellowstone National Park officials say foot found floating in hot spring likely connected to July death
A foot inside of a shoe that was found floating in a hot spring earlier this week in Yellowstone National Park is believed to be connected to an incident on July 31, park officials said.
A park employee made the discovery on Tuesday in the Abyss Pool, a hot spring at the West Thumb Geyser Basin that reaches 140 degrees and is about 53 feet deep.
Investigators don't suspect foul play, though law enforcement is still looking into the incident.
"Visitors are reminded to stay on boardwalks and trails in thermal areas and exercise extreme caution around thermal features," the National Park Service said this week after the discovery.
"The ground in hydrothermal areas is fragile and thin, and there is scalding water just below the surface."
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Hot springs, located through Yellowstone, are formed by precipitation that seeps into the ground and becomes superheated by the area's magmatic system. The hot water rises to the surface while colder water sinks around it, creating a natural plumbing system, according to the park.
The July death is the first fatal incident involving a hot spring at Yellowstone since June 2016, when a 23-year-old man slipped and fell into a hot spring at Norris Geyser Basin while roughly 225 yards off the boardwalk.
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Numerous injuries are reported every year by visitors who get too close to hot springs. A 20-year-old woman suffered severe burns from her shoulders to her feet last October when she tried to rescue her dog by entering Maiden’s Grave Spring, which can reach 200 degrees.
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