• A bull elk bugles in Yellowstone National Park

    Yellowstone

    National Park ID,MT,WY

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    The road linking West Thumb and Old Faithful is closed for the season—traffic should detour through West Thumb, Lake, and Canyon. More »

Emerald Spring

Bubbles rise to the surface, and steam from the surface, of this brighly green-colored hot spring pool.
 

A hot spring's color often indicates the presence of minerals. In a clear blue pool, the water is absorbing all colors of sunlight except one, blue, which is reflected back to our eyes. Here in Emerald Spring's pool, another factor joins with light refraction to give this spring its color. The 27-foot (8 meter) deep pool is lined with yellow sulfur deposits. The yellow color from the sulfur combines with the reflected blue light, making the hot spring appear a magnificent emerald green.

Hot spring water can dissolve and transport sulfur from underground. The mineral can deposit and crystallize at the earth's surface, sometimes in hot spring pools.


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Did You Know?

Fire in Yellowstone Pineland in 1988

The 1988 fires affected 793,880 acres or 36 percent of the park. Five fires burned into the park that year from adjacent public lands. The largest, the North Fork Fire, started from a discarded cigarette. It burned more than 410,000 acres.