SIMON TERREY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SIMON TERREY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Hot spring. Minerals and blue-green algae (cyanobacteria) producing intense colours in a hot spring in a hydrothermal area. Steam can be seen rising from the surface of the water. Water superheated by underground geothermal activity dissolves many of the minerals from surrounding rocks. When the water escapes to the surface its power as a solvent is reduced and minerals are precipitated. Such chemical nutrients and the hot, anaerobic, aquatic environment allow many colourful primitive algae and bacteria to flourish. Some blue-green algae are able to tolerate temperatures of up to 165 Celsius. Photographed at Yellowstone National Park, USA.
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