Yellowstone National Park in Teton County, Wyoming — The American West (Mountains)
For thousands of years, microbes have grown in the runoff channels extending from nearby Grand Prismatic Spring. These vast communities were buried alive as the flowing hot water deposited a crust of silica minerals. The resulting deposit, called sinter, preserved the shape of the microbial mat it entombed. As new mats grew, more layers developed. Today’s formation is the result of this interplay between its living and nonliving components.
Yellowstone’s hydrothermal featured provide a glimpse into the distant past when intense volcanism was widespread on the young Earth. The lifeforms found here help scientists understand the type of life that likely arose and diversified billions of years ago on our planet.
Life Beyond Earth?
• Formations that entomb microbes in Yellowstone’s geysers and hot springs may offer clues in search for life on other worlds.
• Volcanic hot spring systems are believed to have existed on other planets in our solar system.
• If similar formations are found, they may contain evidence that life existed elsewhere in the universe.
This exhibit made possible by a generous grant to
Erected by Yellowstone Park Foundation.
Location. 44° 31.563′ N, 110° 50.208′ W. Marker is in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, in Teton County. Marker can be reached from Grand Loop Road (U.S. 89) one mile south of Firehole Lake Drive, on the right when traveling south. Touch for map. Located in the Midway 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. Excelsior Geyser (within shouting distance of this marker); Life on the Edge (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Grand Prismatic Spring: Prism of Light, Spectrum of Life (about 400 feet away); White Dome Geyser (approx. 1.9 miles away); Fountain Paint Pot (approx. 2.3 miles away); a different marker also named Fountain Paint Pot (approx. 2.3 miles away); Earthquake’s Offspring (approx. 2.3 miles away); Murky Past . . . Promising Future (approx. 2.8 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Yellowstone National Park.
More about this marker. The background photo carries the caption, "Layers of sinter (above) form the geyser wall and
Also see . . . Yellowstone National Park. (Submitted on July 31, 2011, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.)
Categories. • Science & Medicine •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on July 31, 2011, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. This page has been viewed 518 times since then and 25 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on July 31, 2011, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.