There are a few iconic images in Yellowstone. The most colorful is Grand Prismatic Spring. If you ever want to know what it feels like to walk on a rainbow, this is the place. Fantastic, stunning, and spectacular are usually first impressions, and it is most certainly a necessary selfie stop. The brilliant colors radiating from the spring will set rainbows aside and the science behind it will have you mesmerized.
Water from Prismatic Spring seeps and bubbles from it’s center into a beautiful blue. As the water spreads out, and cools, it creates concentric circles with differing colors. Logic tells us that the blue center must be the coolest and the fiery oranges and reds must be hot, right?
With hot springs, the opposite is true. The blue center is the hottest part and the oranges, cooler. It does make more sense to think as the water flows outward, it would cool and contribute to the science behind the color. So we accept the new logic like a champ, until we find out the prismatic colors are not temperature specific.
Instead the colors come from thermophile (heat-loving) bacteria that live in the hot springs. It is these microorganisms, millions of them, that thrive in distinctive temperatures, and bring us the living rainbow. The blue center? It is too hot for microorganisms to survive, so in truth, the water at the center is crystal clear, getting its color from scatters of blue wavelengths, like oceans, lakes and rivers.
Wander and enjoy the ever refreshing radiance of Grand Prismatic Spring. It can be viewed at ground level from the Midway Geyser Basin Trail, or from above at Midway Bluff.
Wind Kisses, Donna
Do you know the difference between geysers and hot springs? Have you been to Yellowstone? What was your first impression of Prismatic, aside from seeing the bison walk along it’s edges?