Tourist Pollution Changed Colors of Yellowstone’s Thermal Pools

December 23, 2014 10:12 AM

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A new study recently published in the journal Applied Optics shows how some of the Yellowstone National Park’s thermal springs really looked like before they were polluted by tourists. Using simple mathematical models, scientists were able to simulate the initial colors of the Morning Glory Pool (photo), one of Yellowstone’s hot springs pools that had been dark blue before getting the colors we see today.

Scientists said that the hot springs changed colors mainly because the chemistry of their waters went through several transformations while tourists kept throwing make-a-wish coins, rocks and trash in Yellowstone’s thermal pools.

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