Everywhere you go in Yellowstone, you see plants and trees that have succumbed to the hot springs. They constantly change shape and location, so the park rangers are moving the boardwalks somewhere every year. This is from West Thumb Geyser Basin.
Mammoth Hot Springs No. 1
Over thousands of years, the geothermal vents in Mammoth Hot Springs have deposited tons and tons of calcium carbonate. These deposits form in layers like these. It's like an underground cave turned inside out.
Norris Geyser Basin No. 1
Norris is the oldest and hottest geothermal place in Yellowstone. Almost all the springs there are above the boiling point, something that every year a clueless tourist seems to ignore. There's lots of seismic activity as well, so the locations of the features are constantly shifting. No fences on the boardwalks, either, so one can get quite close to look at the features inside the springs. You can walk for miles there, and once you get more than a couple of hundred yards from the road, 95% of the tourists are gone. I spent the better part of a day there while my lovely wife was taking a watercolor lesson along the banks of the Yellowstone River.
West Thumb Geyser Basin is the first thing you come to if you enter Yellowstone from the south. As soon as I came to the first hot spring, I knew I would love my experience in the park. The colors and textures were unlike anything I had seen before.
West Thumb No. 1
The colors of the geothermal features in West Thumb Geyser Basin in Yellowstone are unlike those anywhere else. Ordinarily, these colors come from minerals in the soil and/or water. Not here. These typically come from bacteria that thrive in the super hot temperatures of the springs. The turquoise water in so many of the springs beckons you -- until you remember that if you jumped in, 60 seconds later, you would have 3rd degree burns over 100% of your body.
West Thumb Nacho Chip
From West Thumb Geyser Basin, in the south part of the park. The water you see is at the boiling point, and every year, some clueless tourist boils to death, thinking this is a hot spring to play in. I took most of the images in this series with a macro lens. The nice thing about West Thumb is that you can lay down on the boardwalk and get very close. As long as you go early, you can even beat most of the tourists, who come by the busload after 9:30 am.
Hot Spring Rainbow
The vivid colors on the side of a Norris Geyser Valley hot spring, from the "coolest" - just below boiling -- to the hottest part - turquoise.
Norris Geyser Basin No. 2
More colors and textures from Norris Geyser Basin.