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07/11/2014 12:39 am ET Updated Jul 11, 2014

Yellowstone Road Melts, Shutting Down Access To Famous Geysers

A popular road through Yellowstone National Park was shut down on Thursday when the asphalt started to melt.

The park says extreme heat from thermal areas is causing hot oil to bubble to the surface of Firehole Lake Drive, a scenic 3.3-mile loop that runs past Great Fountain Geyser, White Dome Geyser and Firehole Lake.

Yellowstone's Twitter feed included a photo of the melted road:

"It basically turned the asphalt into soup," park spokesman Dan Hottle told USA Today. "It turned the gravel road into oatmeal."

That same thermal heat melting the road is what gives the park its famous geysers, hot springs, mudpots and fumaroles. But for the moment, some of these natural wonders will be off-limits as officials ask both motorists and hikers to avoid the area.

"There are plenty of other great places to see thermal features in the park," Al Nash, another Yellowstone spokesman, told The Associated Press. "I wouldn't risk personal injury to see these during this temporary closure."

The park says the road will remain closed for several days, but no re-opening date has been announced. Visitors planning to travel to Yellowstone can call (307) 344-2117 to hear current road conditions.

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