Morning Glory Pool - Atlas Obscura

Morning Glory Pool

A beautiful geyser under environmental threat.  


The original name of the Morning Glory Pool was Convolutus. It was given that title in 1883 by the wife of an assistant park superintendent after the Latin word for the morning glory flower, which the pool’s blue color resembles. Recently, however, the pool has started to go by another name: “Fading Glory.”

The delicate blue water is created by thermophilic bacteria, which thrive in the pool’s searing heat. For over a century, the Morning Glory Pool–a hotspot in Yellowstone National Park–has suffered from inconsiderate visitors who have thrown coins, bottles, and trash into its waters. The trash has slowly built up and blocked some of the thermal vents and reduced the heat of the pool, allowing other bacteria to begin working their way in at the edges, creating a red and yellow ring around the pure blue center. While this rainbow hue is indeed beautiful, it is a fragile beauty, as the invasive yellow bacteria continues to close in.

Occasionally, often following seismic activity, the pool erupts in a geyser. There is hope that these eruptions may clear the pool of trash. Attempts have been made to artificially induce geysers, but have been met with mixed results.

Know Before You Go

Earlier this year, this Grand Prismatic Spring spewed decades-old trash. Access to the geyser is via Yellowstone National Park.

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