Ingersoll | Devil’s Punch Bowl #129

"Devil's Punch Bowl #129, by Truman Ward Ingersoll

Keywords: Transition, Power

Truman Ward Ingersoll (American, 1862-1922)
Devil's Punch Bowl #129 (1885-1890)
Albumen print, 7 x 10"
Gift of Samuel Charters and Ann Charters, 2012.4.21
Paintings and photographs of natural wonders contributed to the establishment of Yellowstone as the first U.S. National Park in 1872. In the decades that followed, photographic images like this one became a fixture of upper middle-class drawing rooms and helped fuel Americans’ growing fascination with the West.

Ingersoll first traveled to Yellowstone in 1883. The Minnesota-based photographer was particularly intrigued by the park and made at least four photographic series there during the 1880s.

Human vs. Geothermal Power
Volcanic fumarole (gas vent) in the first U.S. National Park. The power of the man with a rifle is trifling compared to the power of this "supervolcano," one so big, the edge of its caldera can be seen in the distant skyline. That edge is a "yellow stone" called ignimbrite, composed of exploded volcanic glass (ash) welded by volcanic temperatures. A large eruption could cover about half of the U.S. beneath thick ash falls.