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A volcanic plateau constructed by late Pliocene and Quaternary eruptions spans the Continental Divide and occupies the central part of Yellowstone National Park, mainly in northwestern Wyoming but overlapping into eastern Idaho and southwestern Montana. The National Park is accessible by road through five entrances, reached by U.S. 20 from the west and east, from the north and south, and U.S. 212 from the northeast (Fig. 1). The localities described in this guide are all on or adjacent to the park road system and can be reached, during the summer months (usually early May through late October), by passenger car or, during the winter, by skis or skimobile. A nominal entry fee for vehicles is valid in both Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks.

Special caution should be exercised in visiting the thermal 89 areas; they are both delicate and dangerous. Designated walk-ways are provided in the thermal areas described here, and posted park regulations should be followed. Specimen collecting in the national park is allowed only by permit, which can be issued by the National Park Service only in advance of a collecting trip.

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