The Grand Prismatic Spring would have been more prismatic, if not for the wind and the cloudy sky that morning.
Grand nonetheless. With approximately 370 feet (110 m) in diameter and 160 feet (50 m) in depth, Grand Prismatic is the third largest hot spring in the world.
As to the colors, they are the result of trillions of microorganisms (bacterias and archaeas) living around the edges of the mineral-rich water.
When it comes to seeing and photographing the spring, vantage point and time of the day matter.
These photos, taken by my friend Satya Bobba, exhibit the full spectrum of colors given Grand Prismatic Spring its name.
The photos were taken – not from the boardwalk – at Grand Prismatic Spring Overlook, 0.6 miles into the Fairy Falls Trail at one o’clock in the afternoon.
Thank you Satya for sharing these incredible photos with us!
Another feature of the Midway Geyser Basin is the Excelsior Geysor.
During the 1880’s, Excelsior Geyser was one of the most impressive geysers in the world. Some eruptions went as high as 300 feet and they were as wide as they were tall.
After over 90 years of inactivity, Excelsior showed signs of awakening in 1985, for 46-hour straight, eruptions were frequent and at times as high and wide as 80 feet.
Every day, Excelsior Geyser releases 5,800,000 gallons of water – containing dissolved chemicals and minerals – into the Firehole River.
Even so, Firehole River is a mecca for fly fishing.
Brook trout were first introduced in 1889. Brown trout, the river’s most plentiful trout today, were stocked just a year later. Rainbow trout were not introduced until 1923. By 1955 all stocking programs in the park were stopped and today’s Firehole trout are completely wild populations.
This is Midway Geyser Basin, the second stop of our second day in Yellowstone National Park.
Living microbes contributing to the brilliant colors of the Grand Prismatic Spring are susceptible to foreign interference.
In May 2016, three men from B.C Canada – openly ignored park regulation – walked on the delicate soils to the rim of the Grand Prismatic Spring. Although they were identified, arrested and duly charged by the National Park Service, the damage has already been done.
During the time of our visit, we saw baseball caps and hats lying everywhere. At one point, a tourist briefly ventured off trail to retrieve her hat.
Moments later, a young girl attempted to dip her finger in the runoffs of the Excelsior Geyser, and shouted: “Look, I’m touching it!” – The temperature of the Excelsior Geyser was at a scorching 199 °F (93 °C). Her parents said nothing.
I have no doubt that things like this are happening everyday in Yellowstone.
For your safety, and to preserve the fragile thermal formations that mother nature has given us, follow park rules and stay on boardwalk at all time.
Next up: Yellowstone Lake and West Thumb