Biology in color

YNP Grand Prismatic

I’ve never seen quite so many saturated, dramatic, and glorious colors in nature as I did in Yellowstone. Nor so much of it. For this you can thank thermophiles, organisms that thrive in high heat environments. And because their heat tolerances vary, there is different coloration in different heat zones. One stunning example of the variation, above, is Grand Prismatic Spring. At a distance, even its steam runs a rainbow spectrum.

YNP mustard outfall

Outfalls from springs can move into more mustard-toned spectrums as water cools.

YNP near Grand Prismatic

Many pools where the underground passages are open and reach deep into the earth range from deep turquoise to shades of blue-green and emerald.

Collage thermophiles

Closer views can be otherworldly..but then, so can the entire landscape. In places it can have the chalky lifelessness of a moonscape. And in others the land is alive with color and the vibrancy of active geology.

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