What's so special about Yellowstone's hot springs? Everything.

November 25, 2014, 1 p.m.

When you visit Yellowstone, you are entering not only a cherished national park but also the largest active geyser field in the world. Over 10,000 hot springs and geysers can be found while hiking the vast stretches of the park, thanks to the vast volcanic activity happening thousands of feet underground. In fact, Yellowstone is home to around 50 percent of all the geysers on the planet. The hot springs are often colorful, sporting rings of vibrant yellows and oranges to sapphire blues and deep greens. But some are often understated, with soft tones and a calm surface that reflects the sky, as with the hot spring featured here. The range of colors and moods set by the activity of each unique hot spring keeps visitors in awe.

A hot spring is exactly like any old spring, with water bubbling up from below the earth's surface. However, the difference is that the water in a hot spring has been heated by magma. It bubbles up, rises to the surface of the spring, cools, and is circulated as more hot water bubbles up. The temperature of a hot spring varies from lukewarm to above the boiling point, and most of the hot springs in the park are too hot for visitors to touch. These hot springs are like tiny, beautiful and colorful windows into the fascinating volcanic history of the area that continues on today, and demonstrated most spectacularly by the park's geysers (which are hot springs with clogged pipes) like Old Faithful.

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