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MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Yellowstone National Park in Teton County, Wyoming — The American West (Mountains)
 

Fountain Paint Pot

 
 
Fountain Paint Pot Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, July 25, 2011
1. Fountain Paint Pot Marker
Inscription.
Making Mud

This vat of bubbling mud contains the perfect mix of ingredients to create mudpots: heat, gases, rock, minerals, acid, and even living microorganisms!

Heat-loving “thermophiles” consume some of the gases and help convert them into sulfuric acid. The acid breaks down rock to form clay—clay that mixes with water in mudpots.

Understanding the Extremes

Earth’s extreme habitats are studied by scientists who seek to understand life’s ultimate limits. Knowledge gained from Earth-bound studies aids scientists who search for life (and evidence of its past existence) in the extreme environments found elsewhere in our solar system.

Year after year, this huge mudpot—called “Mammoth Paint Pots” until 1927—has changed with the seasons. Fountain Paint Pot spits thin, sloppy mud in spring. In drier conditions, thick bubbles of mud and gas ooze through cracks, then burst and collapse, forming cone-shaped mounds.

(sidebar)
Recipe for Mudpot
Fountain Paint Pot


Heat (derived from Yellowstone’s volcano)
Hydrogen sulfide gas
Water
Thick layer of rhyolite (volcanic rock)
Thermophiles (heat-loving microorganisms)
Pinch of minerals

Let volcanic heat and
Fountain Paint Pot Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, July 25, 2011
2. Fountain Paint Pot Marker
gases rise through Earth’s crust. Boil water deep underground, and add to gases. Process mixture by forcing upward through cracks in the rhyolite. Simmer in a large cooking pot, adding water from rain and snow to make muddy consistency. Add thermophiles, simmering while they consume gases and help turn mixture into an acidic marinade. Cook until rhyolite turns into clay. Garnish with minerals, allowing bubbling action to create swirls of color.

This exhibit made possible by a generous grant to the Yellowstone Park Foundation from the NASA Astrobiology Institute and Lockheed Martin Space Operations
 
Erected by Yellowstone Park Foundation.
 
Location. 44° 33.035′ N, 110° 48.36′ W. Marker is in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, in Teton County. Marker can be reached from Grand Loop Road (U.S. 89) north of Firehole Lake Drive, on the right when traveling south. Click for map. Located in the Lower Geyser Basin. Marker is in this post office area: Moran WY 83013, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 3 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. A different marker also named Fountain Paint Pot (within shouting distance of this marker); Earthquake’s Offspring (within shouting distance of this marker); White Dome Geyser
Fountain Paint Pots image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, July 25, 2011
3. Fountain Paint Pots
(approx. 0.8 miles away); Nez Perce War (approx. 1.8 miles away); Chance Encounter (approx. 1.8 miles away); a different marker also named Chance Encounter (approx. 1.8 miles away); Murky Past . . . Promising Future (approx. 1.8 miles away); Buried Alive (approx. 2.3 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Yellowstone National Park.
 
Also see . . .  Yellowstone National Park. (Submitted on August 1, 2011, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.)
 
Categories. Natural Features
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. This page has been viewed 360 times since then and 4 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on , by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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