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Part of foot, shoe spotted in Yellowstone hot spring

Yellowstone National Park officials are investigating after a park employee spotted part of a foot, in a shoe, floating in a hot spring in the southern part of the park, officials said Thursday.

Tuesday’s discovery at Abyss Pool led to the temporary closure of the West Thumb Geyser Basin and its parking lot. The area has since reopened.

It's unclear if the foot found in the pool is the result of a visitor accident or if it ended up there by some other means.

The park did not have any other information about the investigation to make public on Thursday, park spokesperson Morgan Warthin said.

Abyss Pool, located west of the West Thumb of Yellowstone Lake, is 53 feet deep and the temperature is about 140 degrees Fahrenheit, park officials said. It is on the south side of the southern loop through the park.

In such hot springs, superheated water cools as it reaches the surface, sinks and is replaced by hotter water from below. The circulation prevents the water from reaching the temperature needed to set off an eruption like happens with geysers in the park, according to the park’s website.

It's reported that since 1870, 22 people have died in the park after falling into the pools and geysers.

One of the most recent deaths, in 2016, involved a man trying to soak in a geyser. The man fell into the water and was boiled to death. His body dissolved in the superheated waters before it could be recovered by park staff.

Yellowstone National Park has numerous signs posted near the geysers and hot springs warning visitors to stay on the trail, both for their protection and to protect the ecosystems surrounding the geysers.

In this photo provided by the National Park Service is the Abyss Pool hot spring in the southern part of Yellowstone National Park, Wy., in June 2015. Park officials are investigating after part of a foot, in a shoe, was found floating in the hot spring on Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2022. (Diane Renkin/National Park Service via AP)
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