Yellowstone National Park in Teton County, Wyoming — The American West (Mountains)
Grand Prismatic Spring: Prism of Light, Spectrum of Life
Deep beneath us, magma from an active volcano heats water that rises to the surface through fissures in the rocks. The result is a hot spring that pours almost 500 gallons of hot water each minute into the Firehole River. Minerals dissolved in the hot water are deposited and gradually build the gracefully terraced shoulders of this feature.
Did You Know?
• Prismatic means brilliantly colored.
• The intense blue color in the center of this hot spring is due to sunlight being scattered by fine particles suspended in the water.
• The yellow, orange, and brown colors encircling the hot spring and lining the runoff channels are caused by thermophiles—heat-loving microorganisms. These microbes contain colorful pigments that allow them to make energy from sunlight and thrive in the harsh conditions of hot springs.
This exhibit made possible by a generous grant to the Yellowstone Park Foundation
Erected by Yellowstone
Location. 44° 31.545′ N, 110° 50.294′ 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. Life on the Edge (here, next to this marker); Excelsior Geyser (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Buried Alive (about 400 feet away); White Dome Geyser (approx. 2 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. 2.4 miles away); Murky Past . . . Promising Future (approx. 2.9 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Yellowstone National Park.
More about this marker. On the lower right are two photos with the caption, "Billions of thread-like filaments and sausage-shaped cells (left) of the thermophillic cyanobacteria Phormidium (for-MID-e-um) and Synechococcus (sin-e-ka-KAK-us) and Calothrix (KAL-o-thrix; right) build colorful orange and brown mats lining the runoff channels from Grand Prismatic
Also see . . . Yellowstone National Park. (Submitted on July 31, 2011, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.)
Categories. • Natural Features •
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 765 times since then and 52 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on July 31, 2011, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.