Man ‘dissolves’ after falling into acidic hot spring at Yellowstone

A man who left a boardwalk in Yellowstone National Park in June while walking through the Norris Geyser Basin, as visitors to the park are pictured doing, and slipped into a thermal pool while checking its temperature likely dissolved in the hot, acidic water when he fell in, according to a report from the park released Thursday. Photo by Yellowstone National Park/

YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, Wyo., Nov. 18 (UPI) — A man who fell into one of the hottest pools at Yellowstone National Park likely dissolved after falling in, park officials found in a newly released report on the incident.

Colin Scott essentially dissolved, officials say in a report released Thursday, when he fell into one of the pools that is part of the Norris Geyser Basin system, the hottest of the hot springs found at Yellowstone. The officials also suggest the accident wasn’t entirely accidental, as Scott and his sister left a walkway and were interested in taking a swim in the super-hot water.

The report comes nearly six months after Scott’s death in June, when he slipped and fell into the pool, the waters of which have been recorded as having temperatures as high 459 degrees.

“They were specifically moving in that area for a place that they could potentially get into and soak,” Depute Chief Ranger Lorant Veress told KULR-TV. “I think they call it hot-potting.”

On June 7, Colin and his sister Sable left the boardwalk near Pork Chop Geyser, walking several hundred feet up the hill. While Sable watched and filmed, Colin bent down to test the temperature of the water, slipped and fell in.

Search and rescue officials later found his body, as well as his wallet and flip flops, but could not recover his body because of a storm. Although video of the incident has not been released or described by investigators, Veress said the rescue team found there “was a significant amount of dissolving” of Colin’s body due to the heat and acidity of the water.

The geysers at Yellowstone are acidic because the thermal water there picks up sulfuric acid underground as it rises to the surface, making the waters dangerous — which Veress said is why the park posts serious warnings and people should obey them.

“Because [the park] is wild and it hasn’t been overly altered by people to make things a whole lot safer, it’s got dangers,” he said. “And a place like Yellowstone, which is set aside because of the incredible geothermal resources that are here, all the more so.”

Twenty-two people have died in the pools and geysers at Yellowstone since 1870.


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