A Yellowstone National Park employee made a shocking—and somewhat horrifying—sighting earlier this week. On Tuesday, August 16, the park staffer spotted part of a human foot in a shoe floating in a hot spring in the southern part of the national park.
The unexpected discovery took place at Abyss Pool, which is in the West Thumb Geyser Basin. The basin is a popular tourist destination and has a parking area right off of the park’s main loop road. With a depth of 53 feet, Abyss pool is one of the deepest hot springs in the park. According to the National Park Service (NPS), the spring’s superheated water cools as it reaches the surface, before it sinks and is replaced by hotter water from below. The constant circulation keeps the water from erupting, like it does in Yellowstone’s famous thermal geysers, and may have played a role in surfacing the dismembered limb.
The human foot discovery led to a temporary closure of Abyss Pool, but the thermal feature has since reopened to visitors. Officials are investigating the grisly finding. The NPS has not disclosed how long the dismembered limb may have been in the hot spring before it was found, nor if they have any theories about how it got there.
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“The park does not have any other details to share about this incident currently,” a spokesperson told the Casper Star-Tribune. “We will provide additional information to the public in the next few days.”