A human foot still inside its shoe has been spotted in one of Yellowstone National Park’s bubbling hot springs. Nobody is sure how the body part ended up in the geothermal feature, but park officials are reportedly investigating.
The unusual situation first unfolded on Tuesday, August 16, when a park employee saw the foot floating in the Abyss Pool located west of the West Thumb of Yellowstone Lake in the south of the park, according to a statement from Yellowstone National Park. The surrounding area and its parking lot were temporarily closed to the public following the discovery, although it has since been reopened.
The Abyss Pool hot spring is a 16-meter (53-foot) deep geothermal pool that can reach temperatures of up to 60 degrees Celsius (140 degrees Fahrenheit). The hot springs start as rainwater that has trickled into the bedrock and been superheated by the magmatic system that lies deep beneath Yellowstone. This hot water then rises back to the surface, settling in these pools of highly acidic water.
It's currently a mystery how the human foot ended up here. Yellowstone National Park officials are investigating the scene and have currently released a limited amount of information to the public.
"Evidence from the investigation thus far suggests that an incident involving one individual likely occurred on the morning of July 31, 2022, at Abyss Pool. Currently, the park believes there was no foul play. The investigation is continuing to determine the circumstances surrounding the death," Yellowstone National Park said in a statement.
Yellowstone is full of natural perils, including bears, wolves, elk, and bison that are known to attack people when a suitable distance isn’t kept. However, hot springs have injured or killed more people in Yellowstone than any other natural feature, according to their website.
Back in 2016, a man fell into one of Yellowstone’s many hot springs and his body was totally dissolved in a single day. The 23-year-old died shortly after entering the piping hot water. He was found dead and drifting around the pool later that day, but a thunderstorm scuppered the officials’ attempts to salvage the body. When they returned the next day, just his wallet and his flip-flops remained.
Amendment: This article has been updated after the Yellowstone National Park published a press release