Yellowstone’s striking springs explained

December 22, 2014 5:06 PM

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Yellowstone National Park may be notorious for its brightly colored geothermal springs, but it's human meddling not Mother Nature that's responsible for the tourist attraction. Researchers at Montana University's Optical Technology Center and the Brandenburg University of Applied Sciences were able to turn back the clock - virtually, at least - to show what the natural pools would have been like decades ago, before trash, coins, and rocks tossed in by park visitors messed up the geothermal balance. Turns out, they really should be a whole lot more blue, something we can see today with a little juggling of digital cameras and temperature probing.

The Grand Prismatic Spring in Yellowstone is one of the National Park's most popular attractions, the largest hot spring to be found in the US, and the third largest in the world. Its colors stem from variations in bacteria growing around the edges of the water, changing according to the temperature...

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