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Norris Geyser Basin, Yellowstone National Park
Fast Facts




Norris Junction
Yellowstone Nat'l Park
Wyoming 82190
Natural Wonder
Points of Interest Nearby

Child at Steamboat Geyser


Photo by Alfredo De Simone

Norris Geyser Basin may not boast Old Faithful yet it is one of the best places in Yellowstone to see hydrothermal features. Here are six reasons why: 1) Situated at the intersection of Hebgen Lake Fault, Norris-Mammoth Corridor and Yellowstone Caldera, Norris Basin is the hottest and most dynamic thermal area in Yellowstone National Park. 2) The water chemistry at Norris is more diverse than elsewhere and includes acidic geysers, a rare phenomenon. 3) The colors created by thermophiles and minerals are a true rainbow of red, brown, yellow and green. 4) Silicon salts deposited over a multitude of millennium, 115 to be precise, have bleached the basin ash-white. 5) Steamboat Geyser, the tallest, active geyser in the world, erupts regularly to 40 ft (12m) in between its unpredictable spouts 300 ft (91m) high. 6) The wooden boardwalks at Norris Geyser Basin have none of the crowds found at Old Faithful.
Rust-colored thermophiles

Rust-colored thermophiles

Alfredo De Simone

Thermophiles, heat-loving in Greek, are microorganisms that live and grow in hot habitats. Most thermophiles are found in geothermal features, such as geysers, hot springs, and steam vents, but they also thrive in self-heating environments. Compost piles and garbage landfills are two such examples. And while thermophiles were first discovered in the 1960s they've inhabited Earth for roughly 3 billion years. But what makes thermophiles really neat? Two things. Thermophiles produce the bright colors found at hydrothermal features. Thermophiles are an extremely useful group of bugs. Thermus aquaticus contributed to the development of DNA finger printing. And that's just one case in point!
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