Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, USA

 
 

Silica Patterns

This photograph was made near Prismatic Hot Spring in Yellowstone National Park.

The hot water deep in the Earth is warmed by the heat of the magma that flows close to the ground. This hot water circulates and dissolves some of the silica in the rocks, carrying it in solution to the surface of the hot spring. As the mineral-rich hot water flows over the ground and cools, silica compounds come out of solution and are deposited as a precipitate called siliceous sinter, creating the white-grey landscape around the spring