One of my favorite places in Yellowstone National Park is Midway Geyser basin. Here two of the largest geothermal features in the entire world lie just yards from one another: Grand Prismatic Spring and Excelsior Geyser. These two huge holes in the ground are filled with superheated water, direct links to hot underworld not far below. The huge columns of steam rising over Midway Geyser basin on cool mornings is striking. I usually make a hike to my favorite vantage point to check out the colors in Grand Prismatic Spring. This time around, though, there was snow on the ground and freezing air from a autumn snowstorm passing through. The dense steam from Grand Prismatic almost obscured it from sight altogether. I waited a while until the sun peeked through and the wind blew the steam away from me and snapped this shot. Grand Prismatic Spring is in the foreground, Excelsior Geyser in the back left.
The only way to see how large Grand Prismatic Spring is is to have a few people alongside it for scale. This was shot in summer when steam does not form as thickly over the spring:
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: 13573
Location: Midway Geyser Basin, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, USA
Note the lack of snow on the ground. The entire place is, if not steaming hot, at least warm enough to melt snow as soon as it hits the ground. Our glasses were fogging up just walking around.