Grand Prismatic Spring – from above!

As promised to a couple of visitors to this blog, here is a view of Grand Prismatic Spring in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, from a small hill to the west.  (Click on images for larger versions)

Grand Prismatic Spring, Yellowstone national park, Wyoming

The following panorama is a composite of three photographs:

Grand Prismatic Spring, Yellowstone national park, Wyoming

From Wikipedia:

The Grand Prismatic Spring in Yellowstone National Park is the largest hot spring in the United States, and the third largest in the world, next to those in New Zealand. It is located in the Midway Geyser Basin.


The first records of the spring are from early European explorers and surveyors. In 1839, a group of fur trappers from the American Fur Company crossed the Midway Geyser Basin and made note of a "boiling lake", most likely the Grand Prismatic Spring, with a diameter of 300 feet (90 m). In 1870 the Washburn-Langford-Doane Expedition visited the spring, noting a 50-foot (15 m) geyser nearby (later named Excelsior).


The vivid colors in the spring are the result of pigmented bacteria in the microbial mats that grow around the edges of the mineral-rich water. The bacteria produce colors ranging from green to red; the amount of color in the microbial mats depends on the ratio of chlorophyll to carotenoids and on the temperature of the water that favors one bacterium over another. In the summer, the mats tend to be orange and red, whereas in the winter the mats are usually dark green.[5] The center of the pool is sterile due to extreme heat.

The deep blue color of the water in the center of the pool results from the intrinsic blue color of water, itself the result of water’s selective absorption of red wavelengths of visible light. Though this effect is responsible for making all large bodies of water blue, it is particularly intense in Grand Prismatic Spring because of the high purity and depth of the water in the middle of the spring.

3 comments… add one
  • Becky in VA

    OMG!! I’ve never seen anything like this before! Everything about these pictures is captivating. If I had taken these pictures I’d want them BIG and on my wall!

    Thank you for sharing such amazing photos and thanks to you, I’ve been playing with the Stitch feature on my Canon SX20 IS.

    Your photos inspire me!

  • Becky – Thanks. We had seen this spot before, but had never seen it from above. When we were on the boardwalk a couple of days earlier, a young couple had mentioned that there was a hill with a much better view just off a trail on the other side, so a couple of days later we went over there.

    By the way, my main blog is at . I am posting the same thing on both blogs right now. This one may not get posted to as much once we get home.

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