Photo of Grand Prismatic Spring, Yellowstone National Park

Road Trip: Day 2

Grand Prismatic Spring in Yellowstone National Park is an enormous and colorful example of thriving thermophilic bacteria. The temperature of the water in Grand Prismatic Spring cools as it moves outward from the spring’s center. Different species of thermophilic bacteria occupy different areas of the spring according to their temperature tolerances: blue water in the center is the hottest part of the spring while varying shades of temperature-specific algae species — from green to yellow and orange to deep red — illustrate how the water cools as it moves towards the edges of the spring.

Grand Prismatic Spring (left) and Excelsior Geyser (right).  Grand Prismatic Spring displays a stunning rainbow of colors created by species of thermophilac (heat-loving) bacteria that thrive in narrow temperature ranges.  The blue water in the center is too hot to support any bacterial life, while the outer orange rings are the coolest water.  Grand Prismatic Spring is the largest spring in the United States and the third-largest in the world.  Midway Geyser Basin, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Grand Prismatic Spring (left) and Excelsior Geyser (right). Grand Prismatic Spring displays a stunning rainbow of colors created by species of thermophilac (heat-loving) bacteria that thrive in narrow temperature ranges. The blue water in the center is too hot to support any bacterial life, while the outer orange rings are the coolest water. Grand Prismatic Spring is the largest spring in the United States and the third-largest in the world. Midway Geyser Basin.
Image ID: 13571
Location: Midway Geyser Basin, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, USA

Grand Prismatic Spring displays brilliant colors along its edges, created by species of thermophilac (heat-loving) bacteria that thrive in narrow temperature ranges.  The outer orange and red regions are the coolest water in the spring, where the overflow runs off.  Midway Geyser Basin, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Grand Prismatic Spring displays brilliant colors along its edges, created by species of thermophilac (heat-loving) bacteria that thrive in narrow temperature ranges. The outer orange and red regions are the coolest water in the spring, where the overflow runs off. Midway Geyser Basin.
Image ID: 13587
Location: Midway Geyser Basin, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, USA

Grand Prismatic Spring displays a stunning rainbow of colors created by species of thermophilac (heat-loving) bacteria that thrive in narrow temperature ranges.  The blue water in the center is too hot to support any bacterial life, while the outer orange rings are the coolest water.  Grand Prismatic Spring is the largest spring in the United States and the third-largest in the world.  Midway Geyser Basin, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Grand Prismatic Spring displays a stunning rainbow of colors created by species of thermophilac (heat-loving) bacteria that thrive in narrow temperature ranges. The blue water in the center is too hot to support any bacterial life, while the outer orange rings are the coolest water. Grand Prismatic Spring is the largest spring in the United States and the third-largest in the world. Midway Geyser Basin.
Image ID: 13586
Location: Midway Geyser Basin, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, USA

NASA has a great image of Grand Prismatic Spring shot from space.

Keywords: grand prismatic spring, yellowstone national park, thermophilic bacteria, hot spring, geyser.