Yellowstone Park hot spring turned green by good luck coins tossed in by tourists

Morning Glory has now been popularly renamed 'Fading Glory'

Jamie Campbell
Saturday 14 March 2015 17:48 GMT
A retouched image of the pool from 1940
A retouched image of the pool from 1940 (Corbis)

A famous hot spring in Yellowstone Park has slowly turned from a deep blue to surreal green and yellow as a result of many years of visitors throwing coins in it.

The Morning Glory hot spring pool in the Upper Geyser Basin of Yellowstone National Park has changed dramatically since the 1950s, thanks to an accumulation of coins, rubbish and natural debris.

It is now popularly known as Fading Glory, due to the transformation from its original colour to the present yellowy-green hue.

A retouched image of the pool from 1940
A retouched image of the pool from 1940 (Corbis)

Nearly three million tourists flock to Yellowstone each year and many, perhaps seeking wish fulfilment, will throw a coin into a spring.

In the case of Fading Glory, debris, largely coins and rocks thrown by tourists, started to clog up the vents and water circulation was affected.

This lowered the temperature of the water and caused a migration of orange-coloured thermophilic bacteria towards the centre of the pool.

Adam Hoffman, writing in Science Friday said: “Pigments produced by swaths of those microbes – called microbial mats are responsible”

However he says the pool, whilst perhaps no longer naturally beautiful, has its own aesthetic merits, calling its yellows, green and oranges “brilliant.”

This isn't the first time that Yellowstone has found itself in the news recently as the eruption of its "supervolcano," with the potential to wipe out civilisation as we know it, has been found to be more likely than previously thought

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