Yellowstone Closes Road Because It's Melting
Park hopes to have geyser route in operation again soon
By John Johnson, Newser Staff
Posted Jul 10, 2014 5:50 PM CDT
This photo provided by the National Park Service shows heat damage to a road in Yellowstone National Park.   (AP Photo/Yellowstone National Park)

(Newser) – You'll never guess why "Firehole Lake Drive" is temporarily off-limits to tourists in Yellowstone National Park. Yes, the popular 3.3-mile loop is closed for a while because the asphalt is melting, reports National Parks Traveler. "Extreme heat from surrounding thermal areas has caused thick oil to bubble to the surface, damaging the blacktop and creating unsafe driving conditions," says a park release. While that kind of thing isn't uncommon given Yellowstone's geology, the damage to the road is "unusually severe," reports the AP.

The road is about 6 miles north of Old Faithful and takes travelers past Great Fountain Geyser, White Dome Geyser, and Firehole Lake. The park wants non-motorists to stay away from the region as well, because soil that looks solid to a hiker might give way to scalding water below. Unusually high temperatures in the mid-80s of late haven't helped.