Man Who Fell Into Yellowstone Hot Spring Completely Dissolved Within A Day


Robin Andrews

Science & Policy Writer


Please don't step into these. Berzina/Shutterstock

Beneath Yellowstone National Park resides one of the largest magma chambers in the world. Thanks to this unfathomably hot fuel source, the water systems around the park can often be incredibly hot and stupendously acidic.

You should not take a dip in them. They will kill you, and science has confirmed that death is really quite bad for your health.


Back in June, a 23-year-old man fell into one, and he died fairly quickly. Now, thanks to a Freedom of Information Act request by a local TV network, more grisly details of the cause and the aftermath have come to light.

Apparently, he was looking for a place to “hot pot,” which describes the act of getting slightly singed in natural hot springs for no logical reason whatsoever. He leaned over to dip his forefinger in, in order to test the temperature of the waters, when he slipped and descended beneath the surface.

The victim was found dead and drifting around the pool later that day, but officials could not quite reach him to drag him out. A thunderstorm promptly arrived and forced them to retreat for the night. Returning the next day, they found that nothing of the man remained – except his wallet and his flip flops.

In his incident report, Deputy Chief Ranger Lorant Veress pointed out that the waters were particularly hot and acidic that day. “In a very short order, there was a significant amount of dissolving,” he noted, as reported by Time.


Although incidents like this are clearly quite tragic, they’re also a testament to the incredibly daft lengths people go to show off to someone, be “brave”, or – in this case – have a very unique bath.

Yellowstone’s geothermal ponds, pools, and geysers average around 93°C (199°F) at the surface, and they are far hotter just a few meters down. They are fenced off and surrounded by a bunch of quite prominent warning signs for a really, really good reason.

These watery doom portals are actually only inhabitable to a specialized bunch of organisms known as archaea. Are you a microscopic, extremophilic lifeform? No, we didn’t think so. So stay the hell back, and don’t try any of this “hot potting” nonsense unless you want to dissolve like a sugar cube in coffee.


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