SIMON FRASER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SIMON FRASER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Algal growth in geothermal channels. Minerals and blue-green algae (cyanobacteria) producing intense colours in hot spring channels in a hydrothermal area. Clouds of steam are 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 in Yellowstone National Park, USA.
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