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Yellowstone's Grand Prismatic Spring


The Grand Prismatic Spring is a world-renowned tourist attraction (courtesy: Tim Warris)
The Grand Prismatic Spring is a world-renowned tourist attraction (courtesy: Tim Warris)

Cheryl Santa Maria, staff writer

November 10, 2012 — Located in Yellowstone National Park, the Grand Prismatic Spring attracts thousands of visitors each year.

The amount of colour the bacteria produces depends on the amount of chlorophyll and carotenoids present (courtesy: Tim Warris)
The amount of colour the bacteria produces depends on the amount of chlorophyll and carotenoids present (courtesy: Tim Warris)

If a rainbow were to come crashing from the sky, it would probably look a lot like the Grand Prismatic Spring.

Hues of red, orange and blue splatter the earth in Yellowstone National Park, in an area halfway between the Upper and Lower Geyser Basins.

Discovered by geologists in 1871, it is the third largest hot spring in the world, with a diameter of 90 metres and a depth of 50 metres.

The colourful spectrum is the result of pigmented bacteria in microbial mats that form around the edges of the spring.

The amount of colour the bacteria produces depends on the ratio of chlorophyll to carotenoids present and the temperature of the water, which varies with the seasons.

"This past summer my brother and I drove across the US, making stops at points of interest along the way," says Tim Warris, an Ontario-based photographer who submitted these breath-taking images to The Weather Network.

"The highlight of the trip was the couple of days we spent in Yellowstone."

Tim and his brother ventured off the beaten path to capture his photos.

"If one is willing to climb up about 500 feet through forested rocky hillside, you are rewarded with the view seen in [my] images," he says.

"There are several natural hot springs throughout the park, but this one is one of the most impressive. I shot these images on an unusually cold day at the park, which made for a lot of steam coming off the boiling water."

If you have an incredible image or photo, send it to The Weather Network. We'd love to feature your work on TV and our website.


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