Yellowstone: Hot Springs and Geysers

This post is part of a series on geologic features we saw in Yellowstone National Park during our June vacation in Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks.

As we got closer to Old Faithful, we saw steam rising in the distance. Shown above, the Lower Geyser Basin has hot springs and geysers.

Carbon dioxide bubbles to the surface of this hot water pool. The pool appears to have blue water, but the park service provides this explanation. When sunlight shines into the clear, deep water of the pool, the blue light is scattered the most, causing the water to appear to be blue. The shore around the pool isn’t blue, indicating there’s nothing blue in the water.

carbon dioxide bubbles
carbon dioxide bubbles and steam from a blue pool of hot water

Viewed from above, this pool is blue where it’s deepest. Something white accumulating is accumulating  along the edges of the pool.

blue pool seen from above
blue pool seen from above

Seen below, heat-loving microorganisms consume some of the gases and help convert them to sulphuric acid. The acid breaks down the rock to form clay — clay that mixes with water in mudpots.

The Midway Geyser Basin has larger pools. See the people in the background.

large blue pool of hot water
large blue pool of hot water

Water-filled terraces formed by minerals in the water make an abstract image. The rising steam obscures the wooded hill in the background.

abstract -- terraces
terraces (click to expand)

Random terraces shot from a low angle form an abstract image.

terraces

The Grand Prismatic Spring is a hot spring 200 feet wide with varying colors shown in the rising steam. The blue steam is from the deep water in the center of the pool. Cooler water around the edge of the pool supports organisms with yellow, orange and brown colors.

aerial view of Grand Prismatic Spring (google map)
aerial view of Grand Prismatic Spring (google map)
colored steam from Grand Prismatic Spring
colored steam from Grand Prismatic Spring (click to expand)

Finally, this hot spring at the Black Sand Basin shows vivid colors around the edge.

hot spring at Black Sand Basin
hot spring at Black Sand Basin (click to expand)
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charley280

I enjoy travel, art, food, photography, nature, California native plants, history, and yoga. I am a retired software engineer. The gravatar is a Nuttall's woodpecker that visited our backyard.

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